Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility by E. J. Langer

Ellen Jane Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard University, having in 1981 become the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. Langer studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory. Her most influential work is Counterclockwise, published in 2009, which answers the questions of aging from her extensive research, and increased interest in the ins and outs of aging across the nation. “Counterclockwise” is an incredibly empowering work.

Following are quotes from Chapter One:

 Over time I have come to believe less and less that biology is destiny. It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits. Now I accept none of the medical wisdom regarding the courses our diseases must take as necessarily true.

Mindful health is not about how we should eat right, exercise, or follow medical recommendations, nor is it about abandoning these things. It is not about New Age medicine nor traditional understandings of illness. It is about the need to free ourselves from constricting mindsets and the limits they place on our health and well- being, and to appreciate the importance of becoming the guardians of our own health.

The hefty price for accepting information uncritically is that we go through life unaware that what we’ve accepted as
impossible may in fact be quite possible.

Small changes can make large differences, so we should open ourselves to the impossible and embrace a psychology
of possibility.

To read the rest of Chapter One, download the PDF file here.

 

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