The Mindful Body
Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health
Ellen J Langer
Many things that we think are beyond our reach are actually within our grasp. Many things that we think we can’t control—such as our health, or that nagging ache in our lower back, or our general outlook on life—are actually controllable. Many of the limitations in our lives exist only in our heads.
The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health considers what happens when we learn how to take control of our health and wellbeing. Psychologist Ellen Langer, who has written widely on the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making, and health. explores the new psychology of possibility, highlighting new research that shows how the mind can help treat a long list of illnesses and ailments that were previously assumed to be entirely physical. It builds on her groundbreaking work on mindfulness, and shows how simple thinking techniques can become a potent medical tool, reducing our symptoms, increasing our resilience and extending our lives.
The tragic truth is that too many people are depressed, stressed, and living in pain. They accept sickness as the inevitable status quo. They believe that psychological and physical discomfort are simply a part of life. Others are convinced that “this is as good as it gets,” and that they don’t deserve better. They will always be exhausted. Their eyes will always need glasses. They will keep getting weaker.
Ellen Langer’s essential work suggests that much more is possible. If we free ourselves from certain pervasive and constricting mindsets, such as the belief that stress is inescapable, or that being older means being sick, or that there can be no relief from chronic pain, then all sorts of possibilities may present themselves. If we learn to apply these new techniques, the mind can literally heal the body.
Praise for The Mindful Body
Lucid and encouraging . . . [a] thought-provoking exploration of the mind-body connection and its relationship to health. —Kirkus
Readers will appreciate Langer’s insightful takes on the close relationship between psychological and physical wellness and attempts to revise a rigid medical paradigm of healing. Those seeking a novel approach to recovery should check it out. —Publishers Weekly
Ellen Langer’s pioneering research put mindfulness on the map in psychology and overturned our assumptions about the mind-body connection. In this engaging book, she introduces provocative ideas about how rethinking our beliefs and attitudes can actually improve our health and happiness.—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast Re:Thinking
A revolutionary and much-needed prescription for reimagining and then creating optimum health . . . This is a must-read.—Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Whole Brain Living and My Stroke of Insight
A remarkable work of science and scholarship . . . Ellen Langer’s pioneering research shows that our thoughts and perceptions can rejuvenate our physical health, replenish our intellectual energy, and restore our broader sense of life’s possibilities. This book offers the ultimate key to unlocking your full potential. —Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When and The Power of Regret
A fun and fascinating read from one of the world’s foremost thinkers . . . In this practical and important book, Ellen Langer offers a host of smart tips that can lead each of us to better health and greater happiness. —Susan David, Ph.D., national bestselling author of Emotional Agility
In The Mindful Body, Ellen Langer answers one of the interesting and important questions about our well-being: What matters more, mind or body? Filled with original research and thought-provoking insights, it 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