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

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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.

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Author's Bio: 

MATTHEW BUDD, M.D., for twenty years assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, was the architect for the first Behavioral Medicine department at the Harvard Community Health Plan and the developer of the revolutionary Ways to Wellness program, which is now marketed nationally as the Personal Health Improvement Program. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, in The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and in numerous articles in the medical literature. He lives in Boston with his wife, Rosalind, and his dogs, Otto and Zeke.

LARRY ROTHSTEIN, Ed.D., is a leading collaborator on self-help books, including Joan Borysenko's Minding the Body, Mending the Mind. He lives in Boston.