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.
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