What if I told you virtually all the world’s ills boil down to mindlessness?
That’s the perspective of today’s guest—Harvard’s Mother of Mindfulness—Dr. Ellen Langer.
Having achieved the historic feat of being the first woman to receive tenure in psychology at Harvard University, Dr. Langer boasts a forty-five-year career marked by groundbreaking research. During this time, she has published hundreds of articles and bestselling books—pioneering works encompassing the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making, and health.
Challenging the antiquated paradigm of mind-body dualism in Western medicine, Dr. Langer emphasizes the separation of mind and physical body. She is here to discuss her refreshing new book, The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health, in which she explores the transformative leverage of mindfulness in improving health.
Today’s conversation disassembles the conventional separation between mind and body, exploring the concept of mind-body unity. Dr. Langer scrutinizes the power of belief, dispels the illusion of control, and provides a novel perspective on decision-making and manipulation. We also explore the psychological construct of fatigue, illustrating how mindfulness positively impacts physical endurance and more.
“We don’t enjoy our lives enough because we are not actually there—we are mindless, not mindful.”
– DR. ELLEN LANGER
According to Dr. Langer, many of us fail to fully enjoy our lives because we often operate in a state of mindlessness rather than mindfulness. Our minds frequently wander in inattention, overlooking the richness of our surroundings.
Advocating for a shift in perspective, Dr. Langer emphasizes that we are not bound by past experiences or conventional wisdom. Disabusing ourselves of preconceived assumptions about limits and possibilities opens the door to exponentially expanding our perceived ceiling. As she proposes, this transformative mindset has the capacity to enhance agency and empowerment, shaping the trajectory of our lives.
She offers invaluable insights into the intricate connection between the mind and body, revealing fresh possibilities for empowering individuals to take control of their health. Through practical tips and the presentation of cutting-edge research, she offers advice for achieving enhanced well-being.
Her work is particularly revelatory at a moment of history denoted by the evolution of consciousness or amidst what might be described as a conflict of consciousness given the exponentiality of artificial intelligence.
I’m genuinely enthusiastic about the impact her approach to psychology will have on the future of medicine. I hope this conversation will inspire you to reflect on reframing your thoughts and perspectives, which can potentially shape our well-being.
Peace + Plants,
Listen, Watch, & Subscribe
Seed: Stewarding the future of how we will use bacteria to restore and sustain human and planetary health, Seed’s DS-01® Daily Synbiotic combines 24 clinically verified and naturally-occurring, probiotic strains with plant-based prebiotics. Visit seed.com/RichRoll and use code RICHROLL25 for 25% OFF your first order.
Birch Living: The best, most affordable, organic, and sustainable mattresses on the market with a 100-night risk-free trial. 1% of each purchase is donated to the National Forest Foundation and Birch purchases carbon offsets for each mattress sold. For 20% off ALL mattresses and 2 free eco-rest pillows visit BirchLiving.com/richroll
On: Swiss engineering at it’s finest, On crafts high-performance shoes and apparel crafted for comfort and style. Tested by world-class athletes, this gear is built to go the distance, so you can go all out, outdoors. Check out On’s incredible lineup and my top picks and a special 10% discount at on.com/RICHROLL.
Momentous: High-caliber human performance products for sleep, focus, longevity, and more. For listeners of the show, Momentous is offering an exclusive deal on their entire product collection: Go to livemomentous.com/richroll for 20% OFF my favorite products and more.
BetterHelp: This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp, the world’s largest therapy service, 100% online. Designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. Just fill out a brief questionnaire to get matched with a professional, licensed, and vetted therapist who you can trust. Listeners get 10% off their first month by visiting BetterHelp.com/RICHROLL.
- Dr. Ellen Langer: Website | Instagram | X | Facebook
- Harvard University: Ellen J. Langer
- Book: The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health
- Book: Mindfulness (25th anniversary edition)
- Book: Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
- Book: On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity
- Psychology Today: Ellen Langer
- Harvard Business Review: Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity
- The New York Times Magazine: What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?
- The Atlantic: How to Know That You Know Nothing
There are a few simple ways you can support the show and the content we strive to craft and share every single week
Patronize Our Sponsors: Supporting the companies that support the show! For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity URLs and discount codes, click the ‘Sponsors’ tab in the ‘Shop’ menu.
Spread The Word: Help grow our reach by sharing your enthusiasm for the podcast and/or your favorite episodes by posting about it on social media.
Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production, show notes and interstitial music; with additional audio engineering by Cale Curtis and additional music by Moby; Blake Curtis & Dan Drake for video, & editing; graphics by Jessica Miranda & Daniel Solis; portraits by Davy Greenberg, Grayson Wilder & Gizelle Peters; video clips for social media are created by AJ Akpodiete; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt, Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.
Amazon Disclosure: Third-party books and products denoted on this page and website may be hyperlinked to the Amazon affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.