How your mind can slow down the body's aging, with Ellen Langer

Can the power of your thoughts help defy aging? Could your mind help improve your eyesight or even heal wounds faster? 

These ideas might seem far-fetched, but our guest, Harvard Professor Ellen Langer, has spent four decades uncovering the real science behind it.

In today's episode, discover how to harness your mind-body connection to enhance your well-being.

Ellen Langer is an American professor of psychology at Harvard University. In 1981, she became the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. 

Prof. Langer studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory.

If you want to uncover the right foods for your body, head to, and get 10% off your personalized nutrition program.

Follow ZOE on Instagram.

Mentioned in today’s episode: 

Ageing as a mindset: A counterclockwise experiment to rejuvenate older adults sponsored by Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Mind-set matters: Exercise and the placebo effect from Psychological Science

The Mindful Body and Mindfulness, two books by Prof. Langer

Download our FREE guide — Top 10 Tips to Live Healthier.

Episode transcripts are available here.

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[00:00:00] Jonathan Wolf: Welcome to ZOE Science & Nutrition, where world-leading scientists explain how their research can improve your health. 

I'm your host, Jonathan Wolf, founder and CEO of ZOE. Today, we explore the power of our mind and how to harness it for better health. Imagine if you could slow down or even reverse your aging, just by changing your mindset. It sounds pretty wacky for a show rooted in the latest science, right? But what if I told you that our guest's research shows that it's more science fact than science fiction. 

Today, we're joined by Harvard Professor Ellen Langer. Her groundbreaking research spanning over 40 years delves into the mind-body connection, and with it, you'll learn practical ways to apply this to improve your health.

Before we begin, I have a favor to ask. 63 percent of people that watch this podcast haven't hit the subscribe button. We want this podcast to reach as many people as possible, as we continue our mission to improve the health of millions. So if you've ever enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button. Doing us this small favor really makes a big difference to me. Thank you.

[00:01:45] Jonathan Wolf: Ellen, thank you very much for joining me. 

[00:01:47] Ellen Langer: My pleasure Jonathan.

[00:01:50] Jonathan Wolf: It's a great pleasure to be able to do this in person in Boston.

Now we have a tradition always with this podcast, that we start with a quick-fire round of questions. And this is always very hard for professors because you have this quite tough set of rules. Which is, you can say yes or no, or if you absolutely have to, you can give a one sentence answer, but we really prefer yes or no. 
Are you willing to give it a go?

[00:02:13] EllenLanger: Sure. Why not?

[00:02:14] Jonathan Wolf: Wonderful. Does Western medicine underestimate the importance of the mind in physical health? 

[00:02:21] Ellen Langer: Grossly, yes.

[00:02:24] Jonathan Wolf: Can you think your way to better health? 

[00:02:27] Ellen Langer: Yes. 

[00:02:28] Jonathan Wolf: Can I lower my blood sugar levels with my mind? 

[00:02:31] Ellen Langer: Surprisingly, yes. 

[00:02:34] Jonathan Wolf: Can a positive mental attitude make me younger? 

[00:02:36] Ellen Langer: Yes.

[00:02:38] Jonathan Wolf: Wow, this is pretty amazing. Is mindfulness the same as meditation? 

[00:02:44] Ellen Langer: No, not at all. Meditation isn't mindfulness. Meditation is a practice you go through to set you up for post-meditative mindfulness. 

[00:02:54] Jonathan Wolf: Last quickfire question, can practicing mindfulness improve my health? 

[00:02:59] Ellen Langer: Yes. That, Jonathan, was hard for me not to give you the next sentence. 

[00:03:02] Jonathan Wolf: I can see, and if it makes you feel better, it's a sort of universal test as to whether or not someone is a professor is how hard they find this. So, you passed, you're a professor.

Last question and you can have a sentence here rather than just yes, no. What's the biggest myth that you've come across about the connection between the mind and the body? 

[00:03:21] Ellen Langer: That they are best seen as two separate entities. 

[00:03:26] Jonathan Wolf: I've always been sort of very suspicious about the sort of the way that Western medicine has tended to treat the mind and the body as completely separate. I think it's actually rather an odd thing to believe. And I was thinking about the fact that, you know, every time I get sick, if I'm still sick after a few days, then I start to get really anxious about like, am I ever going to get better?

And it seems clear to me that when I am anxious, actually, I stay sick longer than if I just sort of let time… and like my wife always tells me I'm a terrible hypochondriac and, you know, I've obviously never had any evidence about this, but it sort of seems pretty obvious that the brain is in fact a large physical organ and this should all be related. 

It's therefore amazing though to speak to a scientist who's been spending their whole career doing, like, real research to show how these two are linked. And you know, I'm really keen to actually unpick through this, some of the real ways, real hard science, that show that the mind actually has these physical effects. 

And I think you've had a, you know, a lot of papers with some very surprising results. So, I'm really looking forward to that.

Could we maybe start with what is the traditional sort of view of the mind against the body? And what you think? And therefore, what do you think we've been getting wrong? 

[00:04:44] Ellen Langer: Well, not that many years ago, the medical model used to believe that psychology was just totally irrelevant. You know, it's nice to be happy, they would think. But that has nothing to do with your health.

More recently, as most people know, people talk about a mind-body connection. That's not what I'm talking about. My position is much more extreme. And by my understanding, more useful. Which is, the mind and body should be understood as one unit.

Now, these are just words. You know, you could have had mind, body and elbows, and we would have developed a different understanding of people. But when you put the mind and the body back together, then wherever you're putting the mind, you're necessarily putting the body. 
And so as I report in the mindful body, we have lots of studies where we put the mind in strange places and take measures that seem to justify the notion that it's one unit. 

[00:05:42] Jonathan Wolf: And when you say you put the mind in strange places, what do you mean by that? 

[00:05:46] Ellen Langer: Well, the original study, testing the mind-body unity, was the counterclockwise study. 
This is a famous study, okay. I can call my own study famous because if you watch The Simpsons go to Havana, they actually talk about this study.

[00:06:00] Jonathan Wolf: Agree. I think you've really made it if you're on The Simpsons. 

[00:06:03] Ellen Langer: So what we did in this study, very simple, we retrofitted a retreat to 20 years earlier and had old men live there. 
And I should say elderly men, you know, the older I get, the younger they get. But basically men in their late eighties, nineties live there for a week as if they were their younger selves. They spoke about all sorts of past events as if they were just unfolding, everything they did was as they might do it 20 years earlier. 

[00:06:29] Jonathan Wolf: So they imagined as if they were living in a time 20 years earlier. 

[00:06:33] Ellen Langer: In a time warp. Yes. And we took lots of measures. And what we found, it was sort of astonishing that their vision improved, their hearing improved, their memory, their strength, and they look noticeably younger. And all of that without any medical intervention. 

[00:06:44] Jonathan Wolf: Sounds completely magical.

[00:06:45] Ellen Langer: As it does. But so then fast forward, we've done lots of studies that I've reported in the mindful body.

The next one is kind of fun also. We took chambermaids. Now it's interesting, chambermaids, as you know, are working all day long. And we asked them how much exercise they get, and they say they're not getting very much exercise. 
What? Well, that's because, to them, exercise, according to the surgeon general, is what you do after work. After work, they're just too tired.

Okay, so we take these chambermaids who don't realize they're getting exercise, and all we do is teach them that they're getting exercise. Making a bed was like working on this machine at the gym and so on. 
So now we have two groups, one who doesn't realize their work is exercise. One now does see their work as exercise. We take lots and lots of measures and we want to find out after this time, is she eating any differently? Is she working any? No differences that we could discern.

Nevertheless, the group that changed their minds that now saw their worker as exercise lost weight. There was a change in waist to hip ratio, body mass index, and their blood pressure came down. 

[00:07:56] Jonathan Wolf: So Ellen, that all sounds pretty magical. Can you help us to understand how is it possible that the mind is a link to our physical health? 

[00:08:03] Ellen Langer: It's not linked. Okay. It's one thing. Every move you make, every thought you have is simultaneously enacted on different levels, right? 

So there's a physiological response, you know, you raise your hand, your brain is now different from before you raised it. So I'm not saying that there's nothing going on so called under the hood, simply that my concern are the larger measures that most people care about.

It's really a nocebo effect. 
A placebo you take and all of a sudden things get better. For a nocebo you are releasing a way for things to be better, typically. So here you didn't know that your work was exercise and that's keeping the system in place. And that realization then frees you to enjoy the positive aspects of exercise, you know, which is very good. 

I mean, there are some people out there like Mark Twain who said, every time the urge to exercise comes over him, he just sits quietly and waits until it passes. And I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't exercise, there are many, many reasons to exercise. But to know that, you can be healthy without
doing all of that exercise, if you keep your mind active.

[00:09:20] Jonathan Wolf: And this is where you're saying, just by changing the way you think about something, you actually have this physical effect. I think this ties into mindfulness. We talk about it in the book and I would love for you to explain what you mean when you say that. 

[00:09:31] Ellen Langer: I'm happy to do that. So mindfulness, and I've been studying this now for over, you know, about 45 years, it's so simple.

[00:09:41] Jonathan Wolf: It's impossible to imagine looking at you. 

[00:09:43] Ellen Langer: Thank you. I started when I was 10.

[00:09:44] Jonathan Wolf: Obviously the positive mindfulness. If anyone's on video, they'll be pretty impressed. They'll be starting immediately.

[00:09:46] Ellen Langer: It's so easy and the results are so extraordinary. Again, it almost defies belief, but let me tell you, all you need to do is notice. Okay.

Now, people think that that's what they're doing all the time, but our research suggests that almost all of us are mindless almost all the time. We're sealed in unlived lives and we're oblivious to it. 

So when you're not there, you're not there to know you're not there. And the research says we should wake up. All right. So how do you wake up? There are two ways.

The first is that if you just accept deeply, understand that you don't know. You don't have to feel bad that you don't know, nobody knows, because everything is changing, everything looks different from different perspectives. 

So if you approach something you don't know, you pay attention to it, right? You enjoy, you get engaged, and so on. If your listeners thought they knew what I was going to say next, why bother listening to me? But it's hard for so many of us because everything we were taught, you know, every fact you memorized in school, everything you think you know, leads you to a certainty so that you don't pay any attention. 

The other way which is partnered with this, is that you take things that are familiar, the person you're living with or a close friend. Take a walk outside no matter what you're doing and just notice three new things about it. And all of a sudden you say, gee, this thing I thought I knew, I don't know so well. 
And then again, your attention naturally goes to it.

And the easiest way to become mindful after just listening to something, you know, a podcast like this is next time you're unhappy. All of the misery that we experience is a function of our mindlessness. So at that point, at least we'd remember some of the things I hope we'll talk about in a little while. 

What I'm saying is that you go about your business, and if you were a robot all day long, you wouldn't know it, alright? You have to not be a robot to at least ask yourself, what don't I know? What is new about the situation, the person, the taste of whatever I'm eating, you know, and so on.

But we know that when something negative happens, even if it's, damn, you know, I missed the bus, you know, whatever it is, then you're thrown into a state where you're going to start to think about things. People tend, then, to think about negative things. 

[00:12:14] Jonathan Wolf: So am I being mindful in that? Just mindful and negative? Or am I…

[00:12:15] Ellen Langer: No. Because as soon as you think that you know, you know, you know why you're unhappy, then you're being mindless.

An important piece of this, Jonathan, is that events don't cause us our unhappiness. It's the view we take of the event. And so, if you're more mindful, you have more views available. And then, if you choose to pick the one that's going to make you miserable, so be it. 

You know, another part of this that people don't realize, is that our emotions are really choices. You know, that if you think, oh my God, this is the worst thing that could happen, you're not going to feel good about it. If you look for how actually, it may be an advantage, then you're going to feel much better. 

And I think, you know, when I try to help people with the stress that they feel, the first thing I say is, okay, stress turns out to be our prediction that something awful is, something's going to happen. And when it happens, it's going to be awful.

Okay, so look at both parts of that. And as I describe in The Mindful Body, prediction is an illusion. We can't predict. We think we can predict because we're so good at looking back and making sense out of everything. But going forward, we can't do it.

Okay. So you say to yourself, here's this event, what are three reasons, four reasons, whatever you want, that it won't happen. And as soon as you went from, it's definitely going to happen to now, well, maybe it won't happen. 
So you immediately feel better.

Then is the harder part. You say to yourself, okay, let's assume it does happen. How is this actually an advantage?

A silly example. That's not very dramatic, but I'm so used to using it, so mindlessly, I'm going to use it again. You and I go out for lunch. The food is wonderful, wonderful. You and I go out for lunch. The food is awful, wonderful, I'll eat less, that'll be better for my waistline. I'll eat less, I'll be able to take in more of your wisdom and have our relationship grow.

All right. So for me, having lived a life like this, it almost doesn't matter what happens. 

I'm going to fall up if something negative happens. You know, if you and I were involved in my relationship, you can decide what movie we're seeing. You can decide where we go to dinner. I don't care because I'm going to enjoy myself regardless. 

[00:14:36] Jonathan Wolf: Well, that sounds rather magical. So no matter what, I was thinking about my wife thinking like, my God, Jonathan is so annoying, which I think I am often. I love the idea that she would just magically be, you're really annoying, but it's fine. I don't, I don't mind. How does that, because you talk in the book about mindful optimism and when you've been, as you've been starting to explain a bit more mindfulness, if it feels like quite a lot of that is about, something happens and then you, you're taking an optimistic view about it. 

[00:15:02] Ellen Langer: Well, and I say optimism and pessimism act as if there's some real, this thing is really good or it's really bad, and the, for the really good, the pessimist is seeing it wrong, if it's really bad, and it's nothing. It's just an is, and then we interpret it. And so it's not a matter of changing. If something bad happens. 

Now, if you go to cognitive therapists, for instance, and you're telling about something bad, if they're good at what they're doing, they're going to help you reframe it as something positive. But when you're more mindful and you're more used to living your life this way, I never reframe. It's, it's the frame I see in the first place. 

So it's important to me that I'm not, my intention is not yay me. You know, my intention is to tell people that this is available to all of them and then make people aware that the way you're choosing to see the world actually has an impact on your health. 

[00:15:57] Jonathan Wolf: That's really helpful. I'm just wanting to make sure I understand because I think for those of us who haven't been exposed to this, it feels pretty radically different from the way that we were brought up or naturally think about things. 

So. How does that compare with, I guess, this sort of positive thinking, which I've definitely heard, which is... 

[00:16:13] Ellen Langer: Yeah, I'm considered by some the mother of positive psychology, so there's a relationship, clearly. But when you're being mindful, you're not being positive, you're not being negative, you're just being. 

All right, now... If somebody asks you to describe the situation, I mean, probably you would be more likely to describe it positively. You know, everything is okay. We just need to know that some of the things we do come at a greater cost than other things. And you, you need to make an intentional decision as to whether you want to incur the cost. 

This study has been replicated in South Korea, the Netherlands, and Italy. And I think people, you know, need to ask how many people were involved, I don't know if the audience is aware, nor should they be, that it's much easier to get significant effects when you have a massive sized population. The statistics sort of control for all of that. 

Their vision improved, their hearing improved, their memory, their strength, and they look noticeably younger. But the important question is, Professor Langer, do you stand by these findings? And, you know, essentially, yes, or I wouldn't have written about them and I wouldn't be talking about them. 

[00:17:25] Jonathan Wolf: And what do you think that implies? 
So you ask these people to live as if they were living in a time warp?

[00:17:29] Ellen Langer: It's a wonderful question, because you don't have to be 60, you don't have to be 40, you don't have to be 100. The number is irrelevant.

What you need to recognize is that you cannot, even with an experiment, prove that you can't. And that's what happens when, as people get older, they change their yardstick for what they're capable of doing.

So I wanted to do this study, and I'm really pretty confident that it would work, but I never did it. Where if we took elderly men, and I don't know how old, just make them 70, so they're young old. All right. And we were going to have them play baseball, the people who used to play baseball when they were younger. 
So the image I have is that we have them walking around their house and, you know, hesitating to pick up something that was dropped or picking and really looking a little decrepit.

Now, fast forward, we have them in their old baseball suits or ones that have been altered so they fit them now. And he's out on second base and there's a grounder and he bends down and picks that up without any thought that he can't. You know, We've all seen things like that, but I need to do the study to put it out there differently.

But that's what I'm saying, you can't know that you can't. And another thing that I find fun is that people need to realize they really don't want the complete success at anything that they think they want. You know, so let's say you're a golfer. 
If you're a golfer, wouldn't it be great if I could get a hole in one every time I swung the club? Well, no, because at that point there'd be no game. All right. You know.

And so when we recognize that it's the challenge, it's the mastering, not having mastered, then we go easier on ourselves with mistakes. Nothing goes in just a straight line and you can do a little and then you fall back a little and then you, you know, to get to your ultimate goal. And I think that what people need to do, there's, there's always a step from where you are to where you want to get that you can take, move in that direction. And that's all you need to do. It doesn't have to be a big thing.

So let me give an example, if you know what I'm saying. So first of all, do you know who Zeno was? I'll tell you. Zeno was a Greek philosopher and Zeno had a lot of paradoxes. So he had this paradox that if you always go half the distance from where you are to where you want to be, you're never going to get there.
So let's go to the very end of this. You know, you're an inch away, then you're a half an inch away, then you're a quarter of an inch, an eighth of an inch.

Okay, there's always a step small enough from where you are to where you want to be that you can get there. You eat a box of cookies a night and you don't want to do that. So eat half a box. You can't eat half a box, eat a quarter of a box. You can't eat, everybody can eat a crumb less. And then you have a new starting point. And from that point, you know, you do the same thing. And with the understanding that engaging in whatever that activity is to get to your goal is its own reason for doing it. 

[00:20:41] Jonathan Wolf: Now, a lot of people talk about this in terms of maybe like training your body. So if you're saying that you want to do some physical activity, then the idea is, you know, you start, you get better and better and better. But you're saying something quite different, which is really interesting. Which is you're saying in some way your body has these capacities. 

[00:21:00] Ellen Langer: Yes, you have.

[00:21:03] Jonathan Wolf: And your brain is somehow getting in the way of this.

[00:21:06] Ellen Langer: Let me give you an example, an easy one. So I'm 76. You're much younger, but we'll make you even younger to make the example.

So let's say you're 20 years old and you hurt your wrist. What do you do? You take care of it, right? But at my age, there are a lot of people who believed, you know, were taught when they were younger and just mindlessly accepted it. As you get old, you fall apart. So then if you're an older person and your wrist hurts, you say, well, what do you expect? You know? And you don't do anything. And so then in a very straightforward way, you know, a month later, my wrist is going to still hurt or be bad and yours is going to be better or the younger you. 

[00:21:45] Jonathan Wolf: Because basically you're not looking after yourself in the way that, like, you're older now, so don't worry about it. You should just accept it. 

[00:21:54] Ellen Langer: Exactly. And then also, when we're doing things, you know, surely, if you're doing something, oh, I don't know, I had played, I remember playing tennis not that long ago with these 17 year old boys.
And they're running all over, and they didn't know what they were doing, but they were much faster than I. But because I knew what I was doing, it, you know, it was easy, right?

You know, then we get a little older and these same boys that I was playing tennis with are now more mature and now they know what they're doing and my game has changed. 

And why should I play the game the same way I did 20 years ago? So you have to let yourself adapt to the circumstances. You know that surely If you're 50 trying to do it the same way you did when you were 20, you're not likely to do it as well.

So when people learn sports, for example, they learn it mindlessly. You know, you're told, for instance, this is the way you hold the tennis racket, the golf club, whatever it is. And, you know, that's fine. But, you know, if you hurt your shoulder a little bit, you didn't sleep well, you should change the way you're holding the racket or the club or whatever. Also, this is kind of fun. 

[00:23:03] Jonathan Wolf: so, help me understand the analogy from the sport for someone who really doesn't play any sport. What does that mean about how I should live my life? 

[00:23:11] Ellen Langer: Everything should be different every day of your life. So for example, what I was going to say when I'm lecturing in person, I'll look in the audience. 

Is there a big man there? Almost always is, you know, 6’5”. Okay, so I asked him to come to the stage, so we looked kind of silly because I'm 5’3”, you know, he's bigger. Then I put his hand next to my hand, his hand's 3 inches larger. And I just raised the question, should we do anything physical the same way? 

Now it turns out the more similar you are to the person who created the thing, the way to do it, the easier it's going to be. So the more dissimilar, so as a, a short, you know, let's say if I were a short, heavy, woman and I'm doing something that was designed by a tall, thin man, I'm not going to do it as well as I could if I'm doing it his way. 

And so what we need to understand is everything we do, everything we experience was at some point just somebody's decision about how it should be.

I mean, a humorous example, we take the 6 footer and let's say his wife is 4’11”, just for fun. Until recently, when they go to the bathroom, they're both sitting on a toilet seat the same height. One of them is not getting their needs met. And you don't need to know anything about medicine, right? You know, so I can tell which is not meeting their needs.

[00:24:35] Jonathan Wolf: Almost certainly going to be designed for the man, is I think the answer.

[00:24:38] Ellen Langer: Everything, every, you know. So now when you recognize that virtually everything that is, was a decision, wow, that means everything is mutable. 

You can change everything.

So when I go to give a talk, I, and a long time ago as a young person, and I'd walk into the room and I knew that if the, you know, if I'm standing with a lot of distance between me and the first row of seats, I'm going to be nervous. So I rearranged the furniture. Most people wouldn't think to do that, you know. So I think we should take everything as potentially changeable to meet our needs.

[00:25:16] Jonathan Wolf: So you're incredibly dynamic and positive, which is very impressive. I think lots of people will still be saying, but can that really affect, you know…

[00:25:20] Ellen Langer: Everything, for everybody.

[00:25:26] Jonathan Wolf: …real health conditions. And I think I'd love, there's another study that you looked at, which was looking, which I think it's called something like the reverse eye charts. 

[00:25:32] Ellen Langer: Yes. Okay. So I think your listeners already know that I'm strange. Good or bad. Okay. But different. So when I go to the doctor and I'm given the Snelling eye chart and we go down the chart and I say to myself, wait a second. Because the letters are getting progressively smaller, they're expecting that soon I'm not going to be able to see. 

So what I did was, with my students, is a study where we reverse the eye chart. So now the letters get bigger and bigger. Hey, the expectation is soon I will be able to see. And what we find is that people can see what they couldn't see before.

[00:26:12] Jonathan Wolf: Could you just explain a little bit more?

[00:26:14] Ellen Langer: What you can see is largely determined by your expectations. 

Look, if I'm hungry, I can see that restaurant sign from a much greater distance. If I know you're going to be around and I don't want to see you, I see you a lot sooner. There are lots of things that influence our vision and rarely in the world are we ever asked to look at letters that are out of context. You know, I mean, there's sort of, to me, a big disconnect.

[00:26:40] Jonathan Wolf: Just talk us through, so what were the results of this? 

[00:26:42] Ellen Langer: Okay. The results of the study was that when we changed the expectation, so that now you think you're going to be able to see, you can see what you didn't see before. 

[00:26:53] Jonathan Wolf: So by changing your expectations, suddenly your eyes can actually read letters that otherwise you just can't read. So your eyesight actually got better. 

[00:27:00] Ellen Langer: Better, yes. Your eyes were free to see in some sense. 

[00:27:05] Jonathan Wolf: Hello listeners, a quick message from me. It's pretty hard to believe your mental attitude can change your body like that, right? Well, it's also hard to believe that it's been 18 months since we started this podcast. And I've had the privilege of spending hundreds of hours speaking with the world's leading scientists and diving into their research. 

Our mission? To uncover how the latest science can help you to live a longer and healthier life. And we've done just that. Now, if you're thinking, I wish I could get the key insights without listening to all those 100 hours. We have a solution. Our team has created an amazing guide that summarizes the 10 most impactful discoveries from this podcast so that you can use them to improve your health and you can get it for free. 
Simply go to or click the link in the show notes and please let me know what you think of it. Okay, back to the show.

[00:27:45] Jonathan Wolf: That is really remarkable. Now, Presumably you're not saying that, or are you saying that your eyes change? 

[00:28:06] Ellen Langer: Yes.

[00:28:07] Jonathan Wolf: Or are you saying that... Tell me.

[00:28:06] Ellen Langer: I'm saying everything changes. Everything. And what we do and what these numbers the medical world gives us, you know, leads us to hold everything still. I'll go back to the eyes, but let me give you another example.

The other day in the health class I'm teaching, there's a large lecture and I said, does anybody here know their cholesterol level? 
And you know, somebody who's got good clothes, waving their hands, please call on me. Yes, and what is your cholesterol level? And she tells us, I said, “oh, nice.” I said, “and when did you have it measured?” And she said “about six months ago.” And then I said, “Oh, and you haven't eaten or exercised since. And if you die, you're gonna, you know, without going again, you'll die a healthy person.” 

Alright, the point is that all of these measures vary over time, but the medical world, for good reason, can't take your blood pressure, your cholesterol level, test your vision, you know, 20 times in the course of a day. But we, when our vision, our cholesterol level, our heart rate, whatever it is, are given those numbers, we need to realize that those numbers are not stable. 
And that, you know, and the number isn't stable, gee, and if sometimes my blood pressure is less, well, why is that, if less is better in this case? And if it can be less at this moment, well then maybe I can make it less in this other moment. And I'm not a victim of whatever circumstance led to whatever these numbers are. 

It's the same story with everything. Essentially, we hold things still because we think we know, or in this case, we think the medical world knows. Things are necessarily varying and control over our health and our happiness over everything. I mean, if your wife… 

[00:29:54] Jonathan Wolf: And you're saying there's a lot more control over our health than we think? 

[00:29:57] Ellen Langer: Oh, yes. How once we, because things are varying so that if we can recognize that they're varying, we said, then why are they varying? Even your relationship with your wife. So what did you say? She thinks you are…

[00:30:10] Jonathan Wolf: I can't remember. I mean, annoying. Annoying was the word that I went with at the time.

[00:30:13] Ellen Langer: So if your wife thinks you're annoying, then what will happen is every time you're sort of annoying, she's going to see that as confirmation that you're annoying, right? And that when the way you were could have been confirmation of, you know, 10 other things. If I now think that, gee, you're not annoying, when are you annoying and when aren't you annoying? And I start paying attention to it. I might find when I don't give you a chance to talk, that's when you're annoying. In which case, I'm part of the problem for me. All right, and then I have more control. 

[00:30:49] Jonathan Wolf: So this is back to like, being more mindful. It's like sort of being aware and asking questions rather than just assuming this is, and looking for confirmation. 

[00:30:55] Ellen Langer: Yes, or just noticing. But you can't just look for the thing you think is there because then that's all you're going to notice. You have to also look for when it's not there.

You know, this is work that I think actually people should pay attention to. It's work on what I call attention to symptom variability. And that's just a fancy way of saying mindful. Being mindful, you're noticing changes, right? So when you have a chronic condition, most people presume because the medical world lets us, unintentionally in some sense, think that there's no way to control it. You know, there's no way to cure it, right?

We can never prove that you can't, remember. So you don't do anything about it. You just assume it's going to stay the same or get worse, and this is regardless of whether you're taking medications or anything else.

Alright, but nothing only moves in one direction. There are always times where it's a little better, a little worse, and so what we did was we would call people with major disorders. We'd call people throughout the day at random times, across days, just two weeks, to find out, so how is it now? So, Jonathan, you know, how is it now? 
Is it better or worse than before?

Okay, well, as soon as you say it's better, because there will be some, you know, wow, I thought it was always awful. And then I asked the important question, why? So now that does three things. Well, three things happen with this. The first is by saying that it's not always awful, you feel a little better. 
Second, by looking for why now. You end up doing a mindful search, looking for things you don't already know. And that is good for your health, as 40 years of our research, 45, has shown. And then finally, I believe that you're more likely to find a solution if you believe there is a solution.

So we took people who had Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic pain, stress, depression, lots of big things. And we simply had them in this way attend to the variability by calling them, and got positive results across the board.

And so this was my answer in some sense to the placebo. The placebo may be our strongest medication. You take this pill, that's nothing, but believing it's something and you get better. So you're making yourself better. So how could we have people make themselves better without the charade? Well, you can't give yourself a placebo because you know, you know…

[00:33:37] Jonathan Wolf: You know that it’s not a real drug.

[00:33:28] Ellen Langer: Right.

[00:33:30] Jonathan Wolf: Could you just take for a second on this, because I'm not sure everybody is as familiar with the placebo as you are, and I was actually thinking about that a bit. Could you explain for a minute what a placebo is, because you just said it might be one of our strongest medicines.

[00:33:49] Ellen Langer: But it turns out that we have all these beliefs that lead us to feel better or worse, depending on the belief. And that many of us believe that if you take a medication from the doctor, you will get better. 

So you take the medication, you get better. You take the medication, you get better. Well it turns out then if you take the medication, but now it's not real medication, it's just for instance a sugar pill, you'll get better.

Now it turns out also, not my research, but other people's, that the more money you pay for that medication, the better you're going to be.

[00:34:02] Jonathan Wolf: Even if it's still a sugar pill.

[00:34:03] Ellen Langer: That's right. Now, if you take an injection, that's not real medicine, right, just water or whatever, that the medication, the injection is even better than the pill because the more I suffer, the better I'm going to be.

If I do sham surgery, so now I open up your head, you've got Parkinson's, I open up your head, I, you know, you as the patient believe that, boy, this is a whole big procedure, I sew you up, you will get better. 
And so… 

[00:34:54] Jonathan Wolf: And not guaranteed to get better, but like significantly better than the control without. Is that right?

[00:34:58] Ellen Langer: For sure. For sure. Yes. 

[00:35:00] Jonathan Wolf: How does that link back to what you were talking about, the study you were doing with people with sort of chronic diseases? 

[00:35:06] Ellen Langer: Okay. Before we link it to the chronic diseases, people need to understand the, it's explained by mind-body unity. 

So you're doing this thing believing you're going to get better and since your body is at one in some sense with your mind, you know, you get better.

It's hard to know. People don't know, how does this placebo magic work. And it's interesting because the medical world all except placebos without knowing exactly how it works and yet still are not fully convinced to a one at least, about how strong our mind is in our experience of disease.

But when you take a placebo and you think it's real medicine, you expect to get better. And if you have a big illness, you don't expect to get better instantly. Right? So you start looking for when do you get better and when are you not so better. And in that way it initiates this attention to symptom variability. 

[00:36:09] Jonathan Wolf: And so when you're paying attention, I think you were saying that you can actually have improvements in the way that you're feeling? Is that what you were…

[00:36:18] Ellen Langer: Well, no, they're separate things. First, we have lots of evidence where we just make people mindful, notice new things. And so by noticing new things, over time, you become healthier. The neurons are firing and it's literally, not only figuratively, enlivening. That's separate from what I'm saying now, but still operative. Okay.

So when you're attending to the variability, that's a way of being mindful. And so you're getting that boost. But it's also the case that when you're attending to, look, let me give you an example to make it easier. 

So let's say you, Jonathan, think you're stressed all the time. No one is anything all the time. Alright, and what happens is, you're stressed, oh my gosh, you're not stressed, you're not paying attention to the stress, and then you're stressed again, and that intervening time sort of goes by the by. So let's say, we were gonna intervene, and call you periodically, Jonathan, how are you feeling right now? Okay. And in doing this, we find when you're stressed and when you're not, and it turns out, not to my surprise, but when you're talking to Ellen Langer, you're maximally stressed.

Well, then the solution is easy, don't talk to me, right? You know, and so with lots, you know, you raise your arm, you're in pain. But it's when you're sitting this way, you know, that it's bigger pain that, you know, so either don't sit that way or work slowly in that, you know, tiny movement, as I was saying with, Zeno's paradox. 

[00:37:58] Jonathan Wolf: So I feel like there’s a lot of different things here and I think I’m only catching a small part of it. So is part of this, that you are not really paying attention to your own body or understanding your own situation that you're in, and so part of this mindfulness is actually by just by having a better understanding of what's going on. As well as this thing you're talking about, about the positivity of the approach to it. 

[00:38:19] Ellen Langer: Right. Well, it's not positivity, you know, you're not being, you're just noticing, and the noticing is good for your health.

But let's say you're a garage mechanic, okay? You know, you're a car expert and you get in that car and you start the car, you're going to hear if it's subtly not as good as it was the day before. For most people you get, you know, the only time you notice anything is wrong is when the engine falls through the, you know, okay. 
So that's what we need to be, is more tuned into the subtleties, which you're not going to be tuned into without realizing that they're changing. And I'm not talking about, you know, becoming obsessively concerned with your body, but you just feel yourself. 

[00:39:01] Jonathan Wolf: So I do want to talk about one more study before we talk about, I think, what could people do, which I know they want to do. Which is, you did a study about blood sugar, which I was looking at last night, which I thought was another one which was both extraordinary and like beautifully put together. Would you explain just briefly what the study was
and what you saw?

[00:39:21] Ellen Langer: Sure. So we had people who had type 2 diabetes show up to be in the study and we take all sorts of measures, right? Then we have...

[00:39:25] Jonathan Wolf: Which means they have very poor blood sugar control.

[00:39:26] Ellen Langer: Well, yeah, and now... we're gonna ask them, for a reason that'll become clear in a moment, to play computer games. 
And to change the game they're playing every 15 minutes or so. That's to ensure that they look at the clock next to the computer.

Now, unbeknownst to them, for a third of the people, that clock is rigged and it's going twice as fast as real time. For a third of the people, it's going half as fast as real time. For a third of the people, it's real time.

And the question is, is blood sugar level controlled by the perceived time, the clock time, or what people think of as the real time? And the answer, obviously, or I wouldn't be talking about in this context, is perceived time. We can control our blood sugar level. 

[00:40:18] Jonathan Wolf: So just to play it back, to make sure that I understand everybody understands it. By changing your perception of how fast time is going, actually the blood sugar that you're measuring independently, which is this thing that's clearly in your body, not in your brain, is actually, you know, changing faster or slower. Even though in theory that should be controlled by things that have nothing to do with your mind, just because you think it's two o'clock or two-thirty. 

[00:40:42] Ellen Langer: But I'm not, I'm not saying that we should control our blood sugar level by getting someone to rig clocks. All I'm trying to do is to show that our minds can control the blood sugar level.

[00:40:55] Jonathan Wolf: So we're saying though, there is a beautiful demonstration of the way in which our mind has much more control over our body than we would think, in a way that is super subtle but, you know, really measurable. 

[00:41:05] Ellen Langer: So this study you'll like. This is the, probably the most recent. So we inflict a wound. Now it would have been very dramatic if I could really hurt people, but clearly I didn't want to. And as I'm…

[00:41:15] Jonathan Wolf: I assume you couldn't get ethics approval for that.

[00:41:18] Ellen Langer: Exactly. Exactly. So it's a minor wound, but it's a wound nonetheless. And we have them again, I’ve become clock obsessed. So they're in front of a clock that's going twice as fast as real time, half as fast as real time or real time. 

And the question we're asking is, does that wound heal based on whatever we think is real time or based on what we think is real time, the time the clock tells us? And again, the answer is clock time. 

[00:41:48] Jonathan Wolf: And so your skin heals faster. So if you were doing a video recording of this and depending upon the participants own view of time passing. If they thought the time was passing faster, this wound actually healed faster.

Lots of people listening on to this will say that's surely not true, but you have published and
peer reviewed this, correct?

[00:42:08] Ellen Langer: Yes. In fact, yes. But what, you know, when you go to the doctor and say you break your, something and you break your arm and how long does it take, do you know, for a broken arm to heal? 

[00:42:19] Jonathan Wolf: I don't know, but my broken toes took about 6 weeks for the bone to start to heal.

[00:42:23] Ellen Langer: Ok so good. So you break your toe, and you're told it's going to take 6 weeks. They can't know this, right? But you come to expect that it's going to take 6 weeks, and 6 weeks it will take.

But we're doing a study now where we have physicians instead of giving the average amount of time. So when you're given an average, you know, there are some people who healed more quickly, some people who took slower, you know, and then we get a mean, and that's what people essentially are told.

And we give everybody the fastest healing time. When somebody tells me that something's happened to them and that you know it's gonna take 6 months, I say you can do it in 3. 

Sometimes I tell them they can do it in 1 month. I don't know if they believe me or not , but…

[00:43:10] Jonathan Wolf: So Ellen I would love, because I think lots of people listening to this are now probably saying, okay, there's something real about this. So I'm convinced there is this link now between the mind and the body and they're eager to understand, okay, what could I do? So where would someone who has never practiced mindfulness start? 

[00:43:27] Ellen Langer: Okay. Well, again, mindfulness as I study it, it isn't a practice. All you really need to know is that you don't know. You know, when I'm doing this on a large audience, I'll ask the question, I'll ask you, Jonathan, how much is one and one?

[00:43:34] Jonathan Wolf: Two?

[00:43:35] Ellen Langer: No. You see, that's what we're most sure of. And that's, you know, you know this better than you know your name, right? Okay, so if you were to add one wad of chewing gum plus one wad of chewing gum. One plus one is one. One cloud plus one cloud. One pile of laundry plus one pile of laundry is one pile. 

In the real world, one plus one probably doesn't equal two. So now, when you, the thing you think you know the best you see, gee, you didn't know it. Maybe you can generalize something.

But let me tell you something that happened to me. It was a while ago now, where I was at this horse event and this man asked me would I watch his horse for him because he's going to get his horse a hot dog. 

I'm Harvard, Yale all the way through. Nobody knows better than I do. Horses don't eat meat, right? He comes back with the hot dog and the horse ate it. And that's when I realized that everything I think I know could be wrong. Right, and the point, to me, that was exciting because that opened up all sorts of possibilities for us. 

[00:44:47] Jonathan Wolf: You make it sound really easy, oh, just question everything. But I feel like it's almost like I'm talking to a black belt karate saying, oh we just do this. And I'm like, well, I don't even know how to walk into the ring. It feels like this is, so this is too big a step.

Let's say someone's saying, I'd like to try and understand this. Help me to understand, you know, like the first steps. How would I? Start to approach this. Is there, like, a…

[00:45:09] Ellen Langer: Okay, there are a few things you can do. The first thing is look around you, look at something that you think you know, and notice the ways it's different.

[00:45:16] Jonathan Wolf: Different from what you expect it to be. 

[00:45:17] Ellen Langer: Yeah, exactly. All of a sudden, oh, I didn't see that. Notice about somebody you care about. And, you know, it's interesting because as you notice something about somebody you care about, they end up feeling cared for. And it actually, and we have data, improves the relationship.

All right, so you just start noticing. And this should build on itself because the act of noticing feels good. So you don't want to stop. When you're having fun, you're being mindful. You know, if you were to, let's say you enjoyed crossword puzzles and you did one, you're not going to do it again right away because you know the answers. 
It's not fun. You listen to some, uh, a joke is only funny if you don't know the punchline. All right? So could you…

[00:46:00] Jonathan Wolf: So if you're having fun, are you tending to be mindful, is that what you're saying? 

[00:46:01] Ellen Langer: You can't have fun unless you're mindful. So just make sure you're out there having fun. When something happens where you're no longer having fun, then question. Question how it could be otherwise. How do you know this is going to be the end of the world? And find a way to make it work for you. 

[00:46:21] Jonathan Wolf: Can you start by saying, I'm almost like scheduling this. Like I'm going to make sure I do this once a day when I wake up or whatever. Is there like a… I think I can see you saying “Oh, I do it all the time,” but, I think re-imagining the way you think about the world, at least for me, is a bit harder than the way you described. 

[00:46:41] Ellen Langer: When something negative happens, you know, say you spilled the coffee. All right. So for me, if I spilled the coffee, that would be an opportunity. First, it probably wasn't good for me to drink as much coffee. So that wouldn't bother me.

But second, you know, I'd look at the kitchen thing. Why did I spill this coffee? What is there about the mug that in fact could be redesigned so I wouldn't spill the coffee. You have all those people who are squeezing these toothpastes, you know, and fighting with their spouses, squeezes from the top and you want to get every, you know, every bit of the toothpaste out. 
And then somebody said, Hey, you know, let's redesign the tube of toothpaste. So you put it on its head. And so all the toothpaste by gravity is going and it's now easier to use. So I'm saying that. everything that is, can… 

[00:47:30] Jonathan Wolf: I feel you should be coming up with a lot of patents with this approach to life.

[00:47:33] Ellen Langer: The other day I was thinking about, and I was telling a story about my mindlessness, which I'll tell you in a moment if you want. 

I'll tell you now. This person is seen making roast beef. She cuts off a slice, puts the rest of it in the pan and cooks it. Why'd you cut off that slice first, she's asked. Well, that's the way my mother always did it. So they go to her mother, she too is making roast beef. She cuts off a slice, puts the rest of it in the pan. Why did you cut off that slice first? I don't know, that's the way my mother always did it.

They go to the girl's grandma and say, We saw your daughter and your granddaughter making roast beef. They said they make it just the way you do. They cut off a large slice, put the rest of it in the pan and cook it. 
Why do you cut off that slice first? And without skipping a beat, she said, that's the only way it'll fit in the pan. And that's what most of us are doing. 

[00:48:21] Jonathan Wolf: We're not really thinking about things, we’re just… 

[00:48:21] Ellen Langer: But, so for me, I tell this joke and all of a sudden I realize, well, why do we need 45 different kinds of pans? Why can't we make the pan, the one pan that gets larger and larger, you know, like a table, you put a leaf in and so on.

Once we recognize that everything was made by somebody who had, you know, different motivations, desires, biases, size of their hands, everything different from us. It leads to, you know, to redesigning things so that it better meets our needs.

And each time we do that, so each time you're uncomfortable, rather than suffer with being, ask, you know, how you can make yourself more comfortable. Everything around you can be different.

[00:49:02] Jonathan Wolf: And what about, because it feels like this is easiest to do when you're feeling calm and quite positive and much harder if you're either overwhelmed with negative emotion. Or let's say you are living with a chronic disease and actually you're in a lot of pain and things are difficult, it feels like this is much harder to achieve. Is there a…

[00:49:20] Ellen Langer: No, there are two separate points here.

The first, if you're living with a chronic disease, you should be very excited that I'm telling you there may be a way for you to reduce your symptoms and even to the point of getting rid of them entirely. So then you're going to sit up and pay notice and people are going to try it right away. Why not?

And the other instance, you know, something doesn't go right at some point. You relax a little bit about that and you start talking to yourself. Well, you know, why didn't it go right? How can I make it right? And I'm just asking people now to add to that. How is it not going right was actually an advantage in some way. 
And you can always find that. And we do it with people.

Okay, so here's the, here's I think the best way to become more mindful. Every time you're comparing yourself with somebody else, you're being mindless. But every time you say, you know, I'm telling you, Jonathan, you are just so inconsistent, it drives me crazy. 

I'm being mindless as soon as I call him anything.

Now, once I realized from your perspective, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, you know, today I'm going to be impulsive, inconsistent, stupid. So what are you intending? Well, it turns out you're intending to be flexible. OK, I am gullible. I am so gullible, I can't stand myself for being gullible. But that's because when I'm being gullible, it's because I'm trusting. It's nice to be trusting.

And the point here is very simple, although I'm making it sound complicated. That every single negative way of understanding somebody or ourselves, has an equally strong, but oppositely valence. For every negative, there's an equally strong positive way of understanding it. And so now. We go back to your wife, and you and I are together now, Jonathan, and your inconsistency, your stubbornness, whatever it is, let's see, you're being too impulsive, is driving me crazy. Once I see that what you're intending from your perspective is to be spontaneous, oh, wow, I don't want him to become less impulsive. You don't want me to become...

[00:51:29] Jonathan Wolf: So this you were talking about reframing, like seeing this in a different... The same behavior as a different... Understanding it quite differently.

[00:51:34] Ellen Langer: Yeah, so we did a study. We give people about 200 negative adjectives and behavior descriptions, like, check those things about yourself. 

You keep trying to change, but you can't change. So for me, I check gullible and impulsive.

Now you turn the page over and the mixed up order is the positive version of all of those. Now the question is, check those things you really value about yourself. Well, I value that I'm trusting and I'm spontaneous. 
And as long as I value being trusting, I'm not going to be able to stop being gullible.

So we all know when somebody is driving us crazy or when we're casting aspersions. And now if we. accept that it's our mindlessness, and we ask, how did that make sense from their perspective, our relationships will improve. And the more you do this, the more you want to do it, because everything just becomes nicer for you. 

[00:52:30] Jonathan Wolf: Very last question I'd like to ask, do you view this as an addition to sort of traditional medicine, or is this an alternative? 

[00:52:41] Ellen Langer: I don't see it as either one, I see it as a different way of doing everything that's done.

You know, when we recognize that our psychology makes a big difference in our health, then we might approach doctors as partners in our health. We don't just turn ourselves over to them.

When we recognize that. Any experiment only gives us probabilities. That's a good guess. So when the doctor is telling you to do something based on a good guess, you're going to take it indifferently from as if it comes on high, you must take these three pills four times a day. And so you, you become engaged in your own healthcare in a different way.

Doctors know they don't know. Everybody who is expert at whatever they do knows they don't know, and so it'd be a relief not met with hostility. You know, they should still be respected for what they do know, and knowing best guess is still not having the vaguest notion. 

But when we're aware that everything is changing, everything looks different from different perspectives. Any business that holds things still, any profession is behaving mindlessly and missing out on all of the advantage that would accrue from this more mindful noticing. 

[00:54:04] Jonathan Wolf: Amazing. Ellen, I'm going to try and summarize the conversation. 

This is definitely going to be my hardest ever because I feel like I only understand the basics of what you're talking about, but let me try and do that. 

[00:54:16] Ellen Langer: Before you do this, I mean can your listeners understand that? reading this, you know, when you're reading about some of this, you can stop and pause and question yourself. 
And then it becomes, I think, much more accessible. Well, at least that was my goal.

[00:54:30] Jonathan Wolf: No, I think that's, I think lots of people are going to be listening to this and actually really what I wanted to talk about was, you know, I think there is this remarkable series of studies that you have done that look at this idea of mindfulness. Which is, you know, as I'm understanding it sort of really paying attention to what is going on.

Being aware that you, maybe the, the interpretation that you had might be wrong or that you don't really understand what is here.

That what you are experiencing in your mind has this remarkable impact actually on things that are just measurable separately. And you showed that whether it is your blood sugar responses, whether that's your eyesight, whether it's people perceiving you to be 20 years younger with this counterclockwise example. And that although that I think for many people, sounds sort of crazy because it sounds like it's completely opposite of everything we're told. Actually, you know, there are a whole series of these experiments that shows this.

That I think you had a very interesting conversation around some of these studies looking at people living with chronic diseases. Where again, if you change the way that you're sort of framing your experience and starting to notice also the times that are better rather than worse, that this can have this impact.

And that somehow, this is quite linked to something that medical science has looked at for, you know, a hundred years, which is the placebo. Where we know from many of these studies that a placebo can have this remarkable impact on people in almost anything that's been done.

And then in a sense, we've accepted that as the impact of the mind on the body, but you're showing that there are all these other ways in which this can affect you. 

And then I think you are saying it is very easy to do. And I know that you have a book that helps people to understand how to do it.

But my takeaway is that there is a starting point. You can say, you know, I would like to not just sort of just pay no attention to what is going on. 
But actually, even if I'm just doing this, you know, at some particular times. To look and realize I don't know, or that, you know, the person I'm with is actually different from how I imagined them. And that, that is what has started to unlock this thinking.

[00:56:39] Ellen Langer: And impart that if you're going to do it, be there. And what does it mean to be there is, you know, you're brushing your teeth. Watch what's happening, enjoy it, you know, as silly as that sounds. 

[00:56:53] Jonathan Wolf: And this is a bit like being in the moment, isn't it? It's rather than just zoning out. 

[00:56:55] Ellen Langer: I'm so glad you said that because people, you know, tell people, instruct them, be in the moment. That's an empty instruction because when you're not in the moment, you're not there to know you're not there, right?

This is the way to be in the moment. Just simply notice three things about whatever you're doing. 

[00:57:14] Jonathan Wolf: And so it's enforcing your intention. And I was gonna say, the last thing that I did want to mention, I thought was fun, is have fun. Because you said that if you're having fun, you are by definition being mindful and you're in the place. And I love that as something we talk about at work quite a lot.

Cause I will say like, what's the point of being at work if you're not having any fun? If we're lucky enough, you know, to be in a position as, as I think most people are at ZOE where you have choices of a lot of things you can do, then, you should be trying that you would like to get, you know, have fun out of what you're doing at work and hopefully meaning as well. 

[00:57:47] Ellen Langer: There’s a video that I had that has nothing to do with me, but that I have my students in a health class watch. It's a piano video. I don't know if you know this. 

So, it started in Scandinavia, where it first, in Scandinavia, same all over the world, where you have a subway station and you have stairs and an escalator. And almost everybody takes the escalator. You'll have a young guy, you know, who run up the stairs, but most of the time…

So then what these researchers did was they laid down piano keys on the stairs. 
So you go up, doot, doot, it's actually making noise. And in almost no time, people give up the escalator because it's so much fun going up the stairs.

And so what I tell my students is, why wait for somebody to have the idea? I go up doodling, you know, all the time.

Virtually everything can be made so that it's at least interesting, if not outright fun. And if you can do that, maybe that's the biggest takeaway right now, that make what you're doing fun and you will necessarily become more mindful. 

[00:58:55] Jonathan Wolf: Thank you so much for taking us in and taking us through this. And I have definitely learned a lot in this episode. Thank you. 

[00:59:02] Ellen Langer: Well, I've enjoyed it. Thank you, Jonathan. 

[00:59:03] Jonathan Wolf: It's a pleasure. Thank you, Ellen, for joining me today on ZOE Science & Nutrition.

This conversation has highlighted the significant role that our mind can play in our physical well-being. And we know from other scientists on this podcast that the food we eat can directly affect our minds and our mental health. So if you want to understand how to support your body and mind with the best foods for your health, then you may want to try ZOE's personalized nutrition program. You can learn more and get 10% off by going to

As always, I'm your host Jonathan Wolfe. ZOE Science & Nutrition is produced by Yella Hewings-Martin, Richard Willen, and Tilly Fulford. 

See you next time.