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"Why are you sick?" This question, posed in compassion by his grandmother Minnie after a childhood incident plunged him into illness, stayed with Dr. Matthew Budd throughout his lifetime in medicine. As a teacher and physician at Harvard for more than thirty years, he repeatedly asked his patients this question. He found, remarkably, that it often unlocked memories, secrets, anger, resentments, and fears that had played crucial roles in their illnesses. As he encouraged them to reflect on their lives and habitual behavior, his patients often shifted from being trapped in suffering to designing a life of wellness and profound personal change for themselves, no matter what their circumstances. Their experiences led Dr. Budd to develop the Ways to Wellness program, a nationally acclaimed workshop offered by numerous HMOs.
In You Are What You Say, Dr. Budd presents the principles of this powerful, scientifically validated program that weaves ancient and modern insights into human behavior, neurophysiology, language, and spirituality. One of these fundamental principles is that you are what you say -- your words play a major role in determining, not just reflecting, your health and well-being. He explains how the body "learns" many of its reactions, consciously and unconsciously, through language. By following the principles in this book, you'll learn about the Ten Linguistic Viruses that damage health and how to combat the ravages of anger, perfectionism, depression, and anxiety by changing the script of what you say to yourself and to others.
Tests at the beginning of the book will help you assess how your own thoughts and feelings are affecting your health. Each chapter introduces a key principle of Dr. Budd's program, followed by tested, easy-to-follow exercises to help you absorb the lesson and apply it to your unique situation. Examples from Dr. Budd's personal life and medical practice and from his workshop participants will help you overcome common stumbling blocks. Tests at the end will help you determine how much change you've experienced through engaging in the book's lessons.
Dr. Budd's program has brought many patients relief from chronic stress-related conditions -- such as headaches, jaw and neck pain, insomnia, stomach and bowel problems, lack of energy, and high blood pressure -- as well as measurable improvement in anxiety and depression. It can help free you to engage life more fully and direct yourself toward vibrant good health. According to Matthew Budd, M.D., author of You Are What You Say: A Harvard Doctor's Six-Week Proven Program for Transforming Stress into Resilience and Vitality, language determines how we feel both physically and emotionally. By changing our words (both what we say to ourselves and others), we can reduce stress, enhance our health, improve communication, and transform our life.
In You Are What You Say, Dr. Budd outlines his "Ways to Wellness Program" developed nearly 20 years ago at the Harvard Community Health Plan, a Harvard Medical School HMO in Boston. The program contains exercises, information, and anecdotes to help you change unhealthful emotions like anger, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Dr. Budd prescribes a number of established techniques for reflection and learning, including meditation, automatic writing, listening to the body, and examining the role history plays in shaping who we are. The goal of the exercises is to sharpen awareness, increase acceptance, and encourage new action.
Following the tradition of body-mind researchers Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Herb Benson, You Are What You Say may challenge your views of yourself and change who you are and how you operate. Like much of mind-body medicine, this plan is simple to follow, but results take time and effort. This is not magic-bullet medicine. --Ellen Albertson