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Ellen Langer
Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. She is the author of eleven books and more than two hundred research articles written for general and academic readers on mindfulness for over 35 years. Her best selling books include Mindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning; On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity; and her most recent book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. The 25th Anniversary Edition of Mindfulness will be published in November, 2014.

Dr. Langer has been described as the “mother of mindfulness” and has written extensively on the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making, and health. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology.

The citation for the APA distinguished contributions award reads, in part, “…her pioneering work revealed the profound effects of increasing mindful behavior…and offers new hope to millions whose problems were previously seen as unalterable and inevitable. Ellen Langer has demonstrated repeatedly how our limits are of our own making.”

Dr. Langer has been a guest speaker all over the world, including Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, Argentina and China. Her websites can be found at and

Entries by Ellen Langer

When Legality Leads to Immorality

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 3:30 PM

I spend time each year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Aside from the consistently wonderful weather, one of the differences I've noticed is the traffic. There are very few traffic signals and stop signs. Interestingly, there are also very few traffic accidents. You pull up to a busy intersection and, since...

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Living in Moments

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 8:16 AM

Life only consists of moments. Yet when we're young and starting our careers, we carve up the experience pie very differently -- in very large pieces. We assume that after we reach this or that milestone or complete this or that project, we'll finally be happy and able to relax....

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A Mindful Look at Gratitude

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 10:24 AM

If I were to answer the question for what am I grateful, straight away I would say:

  • The possibility for meaningful relationships
  • The opportunity to think deeply about things
  • The ability to laugh at the things thought deeply about
  • An appreciation of uncertainty and change

On reflection,...

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Who Are You?

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 3:49 PM

When asked this question, most of us reply first with our gender and then with the roles we occupy. I might say I'm a woman, a psychologist, an artist, and then turn to my relationships -- a spouse, a friend, and so on. The more roles we have the more...

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Going Back to Go Forward

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 7:37 PM

Like many people, do you fear watching your parents or grandparents get old -- not only because it may be depressing to see them diminish in any way, but also because of the burden of care-taking? Or do you think about your own aging? As you age, do you see...

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The Third Metric for Success

(9) Comments | Posted June 9, 2013 | 3:59 PM

I just returned from NYC from an invitation only conference on the third metric for success: beyond money and power, hosted by Arianna Huffington. I'm not one for mindless flattery, so it is with great sincerity that I say that Arianna is a force to be reckoned with. She's extremely...

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Is It a Tragedy or an Inconvenience?

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 3:32 PM

I was recently part of a panel on stress at HSPH speaking about mindfulness. I stated that if we take a close look at stress, we'll find that mindlessness is the culprit, and thus mindfulness may be the solution.

For the past 40 years, I have researched...

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Scroogenomics: Are the Grinches Wrong?

(1) Comments | Posted December 28, 2009 | 2:02 PM

We either gave gifts as usual this Christmas or heeded the advice of Joel Waldfogel, Wharton Professor of Economics and author of Scroogenomics, who argues in his book that we should not have. My guess is those who chose not to give gifts were not so much persuaded by his...

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To Give And To Receive: The When And The Why

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2009 | 2:12 PM

It's nice to receive gifts. Often it tells us that someone cares, to say nothing of now being in the possession of that new item. Giving, on the other hand, tells us more about ourselves; increases the bond between us and the person to whom we have given something, and...

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The Medicalization Of Mundane Experience: The "Syndrome" Syndrome

(25) Comments | Posted December 8, 2009 | 4:49 PM

My fingers hurt after I've been typing all day; I get cranky and bloated once a month before I get my period; and every time I eat Chinese food I have chest pains from the MSG I consumed. Uncomfortable yes; tragic, probably not. Some sensations are, of course, worse: after...

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A Second Opinion About Second Opinions

(3) Comments | Posted October 29, 2009 | 1:08 PM

The medical world often encourages us to get a second opinion before embarking on expensive procedures. While getting a second opinion may seem straightforward, a closer look reveals that the process is not so simple. There are hidden effects of language at work here: First, the word "second" is typically...

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Do We Need to Stay Sick Until Congress Saves Us?

(1) Comments | Posted August 13, 2009 | 11:50 AM

The current healthcare bill may have a hard time passing in Congress. Do we need to wait for Washington to improve our health and well-being? " The answer ought to be a resounding "NO." As much as we need to reform the healthcare system, we really need what I call...

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