From Wall Street to Mountaintops: Isabella de la Houssaye ’90
Alumna offers students advice on mindfulness
- When you feel overwhelmed and stressed, take a moment to ask yourself what you might be fearing or resisting. Is it a realistic fear? Is it something within your control to manage? Usually, the answer is no. So just let it go. Sometimes we resist the situation we are in: You have two exams on the same day. You can’t believe this is the hand you've been dealt. You will probably spend more time being angry about the situation than just buckling down and studying for the exams. Learn not to resist that which you can not change. The second you stop resisting the situation, you will find peace with it.
- When you can’t just let it go, and you’re just feeling stuck in your stress, then take two minutes and make a gratefulness list. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to take this exam at Columbia. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to learn from my mistakes by doing poorly on this exam. How lucky am I to be alive at this moment! I guarantee you, it will be impossible to continue to feel bad or sorry for yourself when you reframe the moment in this way.
- Be mindful of the fact that nothing is innately good or bad. A day is just a day. A job is a job. We are the ones who decide whether something is good or bad and that is something we absolutely have control over. You may not be able to control the circumstances in which you find yourself, but you have absolute power to control your reaction to it. You and you alone are responsible for your own happiness. Be mindful, and own it.
Read more in The New York Times: She Had Stage 4 Lung Cancer, and a Mountain to Climb
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Published on May 23, 2019