Can how we think about something transform its effect on us?
1: Scientist Alia Crum has an unusual track record of high-profile findings.
“By changing how people think about an experience, she can change what’s happening in their bodies,” Kelly McGonigal observes in The Upside of Stress. “Her work gets attention because it shows that our physical reality is more subjective than we believe.”
What is the single idea that motivates Alia’s research?
How we think about something can transform its effect on us.
Can a three-minute video about the positive effects of stress alter the neurohormones in our brain which then impact how we react to stress?
In a word: yes.
“Her findings are so surprising,” Kelly writes, “that they make a lot of people scratch their heads and say, ‘Huh? Is that even possible?'”
2: The key to understanding Alia’s research is to understand the power of mindset.
A mindset is a set of core beliefs which reflect our philosophy of life. “The beliefs that become mindsets transcend preferences, learned facts, or intellectual opinions,” Kelly writes.
“A mindset is usually based on a theory about how the world works,” Kelly explains. “For example, that the world is getting less safe, that money will make you happy, that everything happens for a reason, or that people cannot change. All of these beliefs have the potential to shape how you interpret experiences and make decisions.”
Why are mindsets so important?
Because our mindset determines how we think, feel, and act.
“When a mindset gets activated—by a memory, a situation you find yourself in, or a remark someone makes—it sets off a cascade of thoughts, emotions, and goals that shape how we respond to life,” Kelly explains.
And, “the consequences of a mindset snowball over time, increasing in influence and long-term impact.”
3: What’s most interesting, Kelly observes, is how “the new field of mindset science shows that a single brief intervention, designed to change how we think about something, can improve our health, happiness, and success, even years into the future.
Reflection: What are some of the mindsets that reflect my philosophy of life? Where and when did these mindsets begin? Are they serving me in a positive way today?
Action: Journal about my answers to the questions above.