A great deal of statistical information has been gathered about individuals and communities who reach unusually advanced ages. Most of this information, however, is on the level of behavioral, environmental and general personality factors.
With the tools and processes provided by Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we can now begin to build a pragmatic model of the psychological elements necessary for living a long and vital life. NLP has been applied already to the study of the how mental strategies and belief systems influence illness (Dilts; 1980, 1983, 1990). Strategy and belief techniques were developed to help people deal with illness more effectively, but these techniques have naturally been remedial in nature. The extension of life involves more than avoiding and overcoming illness - it requires strategies and beliefs that allow us to achieve positive overall life patterns and attitudes.
NLP was originally developed through the modeling of the shared cognitive, linguistic and behavioral patterns of exceptional therapists such as Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. The same modeling principles may be used to find the patterns of exceptional elderly people who have successfully mastered the aging process.