Mindfulness by Ellen Langer

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Ellen J. Langer, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Harvard University, is the author of Personal Politics (with Carol Dweck), The Psychology of Control, Mindfulness, and most recently Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,  She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous awards including the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association.

Mindfulness, documents Langer’s research that demonstrated how mindlessly following routines and other “automatic behaviors” leads to making mistakes, a less joyful (and often shorter) life, and perhaps most consequentially, a predetermined life. In this thought-provoking book she “translates” for lay readers the findings of her research.

Much of Langer’s research has focused on the elderly.  This research is particularly interesting because it helps one think about how you can live a life more mindfully and the potential upside of doing so.

Langer explains how the mindless–as opposed to the mindful–develop mindsets of categories, associations, habits of thought that are most powerfully developed as a result of early experiences and often as a result of schooling. She suggests that to be mindful one should focus on the process, rather than on the outcome.  This supports and open mind that allows new information and perspectives to come to life.

Langer also discusses the negative impact of mindsets on business and social relations.

Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US.   Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry.  She coaches individual on achieving their reflected best selves.  An MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment.