Best Books on Retirement series:
“Mind over matter.”
“It’s all in your head.”
The older I get, the more I notice how wise my grandparents were. And I now know some of the sayings they related to much younger me are now backed by research.
On a Saturday morning in September 1975, as a freshman Psychology major, I was browsing in a bookstore in Massachusetts. My attention was drawn to a book co-authored by two young academics, Carol Dweck and Ellen Langer, both who went on to become giants in the field of Psychology. It happens to be the only book I still have from those years. And I’ve followed the work of both closely since that day.
Ellen Langer notes that her new book, The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health, began as an “idea memoir.” That makes it an ideal way to learn from her extensive and provocative research over decades. The first woman tenured Psychology professor at Harvard, Ellen Langer is known as the “mother of mindfulness.” The practice of actively noticing is the foundation of this new book and it’s clear how challenging and important it can be in the times we’re living in today.
The Mindful Body makes the case for “mind-body unity” It highlights the power our thoughts and perspectives have on our health and conversely the negative impact of mindless and unexamined thoughts, beliefs and assumptions. Using her research and colorful stories from her life and others, Langer makes a compelling argument for pivoting our attention from what ails us to what can enhance our well-being. Her notable sand fascinating study, featured in her 2009 book Counterclockwise, on the impact of environmental cues on thinking and health is discussed. (If you’d like a non-academic short course on the study it was covered in this episode in The Simpsons.)
I highly recommend The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health. As you plan for retirement nothing is as important as your health and well-being. Mindfulness and appreciation of mind-body unity can be key building blocks for the life you want to create in retirement.
Listen to my podcast conversation with Ellen Langer
Buy The Mindful Body here
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