Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I was recently reading an article in the Wall Street Journal on “neurobics”, the act of exercising your brain to build new pathways (wsj.com, health journal, June 3rd). It reminded me of my days in graduate school when Dr. Jerry Sheridan would lecture on neuroplasticity in the brain, a topic I found fascinating. In the past, researchers thought certain parts of the brain were immutable after development, i.e. you get what you get and have to live with it for the rest of your life.

Decades of research and new scanning and imaging technology have shown that changes can occur in those brain areas that researchers thought were fixed. According to the theory of neuroplasticity, thinking, learning and acting can change the brain’s functioning and physical anatomy. This is great news. We can change our brains. With practice, we can rewire thought patterns.

Let’s say you are a worrier. Your worry pathway is well worn and it is easy for you to take that path – after all, you have practiced worrying for many years. Now we know that you can train a different pathway or rewire a new way of thinking. For instance, you can practice thinking that you are happy and at peace. The key to accessing that part of the brain is to use the repetition of simple language over and over. For instance, if you are training peach of mind, you would say something like “I am happy, I am peaceful”. If you practice it enough, you will wear a pathway of happiness and peace and the worry path, like a path in the woods, grows over and becomes less prominent.

How powerful! You can teach your brain to be happy, to be positive and to be hopeful.

To learn more, I recommend enrolling in the Using the Mind or Resilience program at Turning Point.

Take care,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Welcome to the Turning Point blog - message from Moira Mulhern, CEO

It’s hard to believe we’ve been providing services for six years now. Turning Point started as an idea, a dream – to help people who really needed it. Those first planning meetings were usually over breakfast at The Classic Cookie. We moved quickly and in 2002, we started programming. Our very first office was at the Miller Law Firm. One of our founding board members, Steve Miller, and his father Richard Miller, very generously donated office space for us to get started. That year, with a skeleton staff, we provided programs to 550 people.

In 2003, thanks to the generosity of Walton Construction, Helix Architects and the many subcontractors they recruited (who donated time and materials), we moved into our 6,000 square foot office at 89th and State Line. Our growth rate since then has been amazing – 50% per year! We slowed to 20% last year because we did not increase our budget. To date, we have served more than 15,000 people. We expect this double-digit growth rate to continue as we expand our reach and the demand for our programs becomes greater.

I am looking forward to writing this blog. You will not only be hearing from me, but from other members of our staff and some of our facilitators. Stay tuned! We will be sharing articles, stories, and insights. Look for tips on healthy living, training your mind, self-calming techniques and maybe even a high anti-oxidant recipe. I will be talking about hope, optimism, meditation, emotional intelligence and other resilience characteristics. We welcome your suggestions, stories and insights.

For now, we will be updating our blog twice a month so check in around the beginning and mid month for updates.

See you in a few weeks!

Take care,