As someone who has studied and practiced Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP = how language programs the mind) the idea that we create our own mental wellbeing is well established. NLP provides techniques for doing so based on the principles of neuroplasticity. We can understand how the brain perceives and codes information and we can learn to manage that practically with specific outcomes in mind. The core techniques are really simple – in essence, by asking yourself different questions you prompt the brain to create new pathways. Doing so deliberately quickly becomes a habit. By focusing on what you can change or engineer/create, you can easily change your relationship with self to create better experiences and with the world to create better outcomes. And vice versa – achieving better outcomes reinforces a better relationship with the world through our social reward systems. You will notice I didn’t mention illness once – NLP is a wellness model that works for everybody. To create new experiences, you simply find a point in an unhealthy routine, program or experience that you can easily spot to create a point at which you interrupt it – a point from which you ask yourself “How can I change my response? What is it that I am trying to achieve?” This brings a ‘program’ or habitual response into the mind in an aware way to prompt you to replace it with a more deliberate choice. Interrupt/replace is a very simple and powerful technique for creating new experiences. Similarly, in thinking about what we are trying to achieve (which usually is something we do with others), it helps to spend a little time defining what it is we are trying to achieve by asking the basic sensory questions – “What will it look, feel and sound like?” And the reward or appreciation questions – “What will it do for me and others?” This clarifies what it is that we are trying to achieve, IN THE BRAIN, placing information that becomes a part of positive pathways. Then ask “What do I need to have in place?” to clarify the conditions for success and “What do I need to do to…?” to get the brain working on identifying actions to get there. There is your short course in NLP – those two techniques can make a huge difference. Doing so quite literally creates pathways in the brain that shape and create the futures and experiences that you desire. We are of course social mammals and we crave social reward or appreciation. We create more interesting experiences and outcomes with others and rewards are therefore most powerful when the appreciation is from and with others (shared appreciation) – which is where social therapy obviously has a great strength in connecting healing and reward/appreciation systems in the brain. Hope you are well Ann and Hugh, I am missing our interactions on the wellness scene in NYC.