Have a hard time “being present?” Or maybe, like me, you don’t know what it actually means to “be present?” Last week I heard Dr. Ellen Langer offer a more helpful and actionable alternative definition:

“The very simple process of actively noticing new things.”

Here are some practical examples:

  • Walk out your door and notice 3 things you didn’t see before.
  • Notice 5 new landmarks on your commute into work.
  • Notice 5 new things about the person you live with.

Whatever you begin noticing “will start to come alive for you again.”

Why bother noticing new things? It’ll help you live longer.

“After 40 years of research, they’ve found that the simple act of noticing helps people live longer, is good for one’s health, helps people feel good (since they are engaged), people see you as more attractive and more charismatic…it’s a win-win.”

Listen or Read: Ellen Langer in conversation with Krista Tippett (On Being)


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