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Learn how adjusting your thoughts can change your health—from the “mother of mindfulness” and first female tenured professor of psychology at Harvard.
“What matters more: mind or body? Filled with original research and thought-provoking insights, The Mindful Body shows that the two are not just connected but are actually one, opening us to vast potential for health and happiness.”—Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational
When it comes to our health, we tend to live our lives as though our ailments—our stiff knees or frayed nerves or diminished eyesight—can change only in one direction: for the worse. Award-winning social psychologist Ellen J. Langer’s life’s work proves the fault in this negative outlook as well as the healing power of its alternative: mindfulness—the process of active noticing where we are not bound by past experience or conventional wisdom.
In The Mindful Body, Dr. Langer unpacks her assumption-busting findings and outlines her bold new theory of mind-body unity, along the way clearly demonstrating how our thoughts and perspectives have the potential to profoundly shape our well-being. Whether it is hotel chambermaids who lost weight when they simply came to see that their work constituted exercise, or patients whose wounds healed faster in rooms with accelerated clocks, she shows how influential our thoughts are to the state of our bodies. Her work has likewise proven that discouraging health news can have negative effects. Learning you are prediabetic, for example—even if your blood sugar reading is only a fraction away from “normal”—may actually play a part in the development of the disease.
A paradigm-shifting book by one of the great psychologists of the twenty-first century, The Mindful Body returns the control over our bodies back to us and reveals that a true understanding of health begins with our minds.
Ellen J. Langer, Ph.D., was the first woman to be tenured in psychology at Harvard, where she is still professor of psychology. The recipient of three Distinguished Scientist awards, the Arthur W. Staats Award for Unifying Psychology, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Liberty Science Genius Award, Dr. Langer is the author of twelve books, including the international bestseller Mindfulness, as well as The Power of Mindful Learning, Counterclockwise, and On Becoming an Artist. Her trailblazing experiments in social psychology have earned her inclusion in The New York Times Magazine’s Year in Ideas issue. She is known worldwide as the “mother of mindfulness” and the “mother of positive psychology.” She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.