Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
by Ellen Langer | Ballantine Books © 2009 · 215 pages

Ellen Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard and one of the world's leading reseachers who has been exploring what she calls the "psychology of possibility" for over three decades. This book is packed with amazing research stories and wisdom to bring more mindfulness to our lives and tap into our latent potential.

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.
Ellen Langer

“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. Learning how to change requires understanding how we go astray. The goal of this book is to convince you to open your mind and take back what is rightfully, sensibly, importantly yours.”

~ Ellen Langer from Counterclockwise

Dr. Ellen Langer is one of the world’s leading research scientists, a professor of psychology at Harvard, a painter, and a brilliant human being.

She has spent the last several decades exploring what she calls “The Psychology of Possibility.” Whereas most researchers describe what is, Dr. Langer has passionately explored what may be.

In Counterclockwise, Langer walks us through a fascinating array of inspiring, empirically-based research studies looking at the subtle and not so subtle effects of language, priming, control and mindfulness that will change the way you see your health and your life. (Get a copy here.)

The book is named after her classic “counterclockwise study.” Conducted in 1979, the study featured elderly men spending a week together acting as if they were living in 1959. Shockingly, after a mere week (!), the men showed a range of significant improvements in their physical health. More on that and other remarkable stories in a moment.

For now, I’m excited to share a handful of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author


Ellen Langer

Author and Harvard Professor of Psychology - "the mother of mindfulness"