A guide to understanding your feelings and making better decisions when it comes to healthcare.
By Ellen J. Langer ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 5, 2023
Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology and the first woman to be tenured at Harvard, has explored the mind-body connection and its relationship to health. She recounts an experiment in which elderly men were placed in a home that was designed to look like it was twenty years in the past. Remarkably, the men began to act as if they were twenty years younger, with improved vision, hearing, strength, and even physical appearance. This goes against the traditional medical wisdom which relies on hard measures that may be arbitrary and probabilistic. For example, a small difference in A1C counts can be the difference between being labeled as normal or prediabetic, and this label can have a significant impact on how people behave. Langer argues that labels can change how we behave and that decision-making can be a difficult process. She encourages people to be mindful of how they take probabilities and convert them into absolutes, and to consider the possibility of uncertainty. Integrative medicine practitioners may already be familiar with her views, but more traditional doctors may not be as quick to accept her idea that health can be a thought away. Nevertheless, Langer’s reminder to pay attention to how we feel and the cues we respond to is an important one.
Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023