Professor Ellen Langer from Harvard University starts this inspiring and scientifically validated book with the words “There’s no way to turn back the clock or to fight the inevitable.” But finishes the first paragraph with the simple question “Or can we?”
This is an inspirational book that has an underlining premise that “If the mind is in a truly healthy place, the body could be as well – and so we could change our physical health by changing our minds.”
Embrace A Psychology of Possibility
Langer sets out and validates the power of our choice of thought about who we are and the situations we are in, and our intentional actions that we choose to take… regardless of our age. One of the recommendations in the book is for us to embrace a psychology of possibility which Langer says requires of us to “begin with the assumption that we do not know what we can do or become.”
The book relays a research study (which formed the basis of a television documentary) that took a bunch of ‘elderly people’ and put them into an environment that was mirroring their own homes/rooms and activities as children and in their youth and young adulthood. Without going into the research for this book review, I will leave all that to you, in essence what sums up the findings of the research is this quote from Langer “If our beliefs have influence on our well-being, surely we can learn to influence our beliefs.”
Counter Clockwise is a wonderful book that is really focused on how our mindfulness can help us, regardless of age, live a full and intentional life. Mostly however for me, it once again validates the whole idea that what we say to ourselves… our intentional choice of thoughts and beliefs, will affect how we feel (physically and emotionally), which affects our choices, decisions, actions and results.
In her 30 years of research into mindfulness, Langer’s definition resonates wonderfully for me. “Mindfulness… is finding something new in what we may think we already know.”, and “… is the simple process of actively drawing distinctions.”
My Mum Knew This…
I remember my mum saying to me “Don’t just stop and smell the roses, take them all in, their beauty, their differences and the gift they give us for their short blooming life.” I reckon mum knew instinctively what Langer’s research has proven… that we need to ‘live’ our life and not just amble our way through it on remote control.
To summarise in my own words, I reckon it’s simply all about healthy mind, healthy body, healthy thoughts, healthy actions, healthy life… or perhaps instead of the word healthy, we could easily replace it with intentional.
PS… Langer has an Author’s Note at the front of the book which perfectly demonstrates her own mindfulness approach to her own research which reads as follows “This book could be read as anti-established medicine. It is therefore important to state that if I personally were to experience extreme health symptoms, I would go to my doctor, but there is little else I would do that is traditional.”