Harvard Professor Ellen Langer and colleague Alia Crum reported that they took 84 hotel workers and told one group that “the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle.”
Langer and Crum told the control group nothing. Four weeks later, the control group hadn’t changed physically, but the test group had decreased their weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.
Jennifer Aniston will be reportedly be producing and starring as Ellen Langer in a movie about Langer’s Positive Psychology research on beliefs and aging.
From the article How You Tell the Story of Your Life, By Senia Maymin (Positive Psychology News Daily).
In a related article, psychologist Ellen Langer notes, “To esteem anything is to evaluate it positively and hold it in high regard, but evaluation gets us into trouble because while we sometimes win, we also sometimes lose. To respect something, on the other hand, is to accept it.”
She enjoys singing and does so “quite frequently. As those within earshot will attest, I’m not very good but I love to sing anyway. … I am not saddened by my lack of talent. I accept the way I sing. Because of this acceptance, I am able to sing without being evaluative of myself or concerned with what others think.”
Ellen Langer, PhD is a professor of psychology at Harvard University, and author of On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.