The Harvard Professor Who Showed the Power of Our Minds to Improve Our Health

The 'Mother of Mindfulness' is someone you should know.

Image courtesy of Harvard Photo Services.

Thrive Global and The Quaker Oats Company present The Fuel List—20 people changing the way we fuel our minds and bodies every day. These are the leaders making an impact in the worlds of sleep, nutrition, movement and mindfulness right now.

Ellen Langer is known as the “Mother of Mindfulness,” and for good reason. She’s pioneered the field of research showing that our minds have the power to change our health and well-being for the better, and she was one of the first researchers to draw a distinction between mindfulness and meditation. During her 35-years-and-counting academic career, which includes becoming the first tenured female psychology professor at Harvard University, Langer has published more than 200 academic articles and bestselling books including Mindfulness, On Becoming an Artist and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. She’s also a fellow of academic organizations including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her work, including seminal studies like her research showing that nursing home residents became healthier and happier when they were empowered to make their own choices about their day-to-day activities, shows that our emotional and physical well-being may only be limited by our minds.

“Langer has played an instrumental role in broadening the conversation around mindfulnessand why it goes beyond meditation. Through her work, she’s shown that paying closer attention to our lives brings us greater meaning and improves our overall well-being. Perhaps more than any other researcher, Langer has rigorously, empirically verified the power of presence and attention and shown how essential they are to our ability to flourish. ” — Callie Schweitzer, Chief Content Officer at Thrive Global 


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