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Taking Fear from Foe to Friend

Step One: Acknowledge and Accept Fear  

Acknowledging and accepting your fear is the first step toward limiting its power over you. Acknowledgement requires you to admit that you have fears, and acceptance requires you to realize their power. Congratulations, you are human! We all have fears, but the ways they affect our lives depends on the relationship we choose to create with them.  

  • Don’t be a Denier. Deniers bury their fears so deeply that the fears often go unrealized, gaining an unknown power over the Denier. The danger is that at any moment, the Denier may be confronted by their formerly hidden fears, which seem to come out of nowhere, overwhelming the person’s thoughts, decisions, and actions. Just because you  deny them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 
  • Don’t be a Pretender. Pretenders admit their fear, but rely on their ability to vanquish, destroy, eliminate, and ultimately control it. They live under the misguided belief that they can make fears disappear. The problem arises when the fear the Pretender thought was destroyed comes back with a vengeance at an inopportune time. As with the Denier, that re-emerged fear can affect thoughts, decisions, and actions, potentially  placing the person on the pathway to unwittingly forfeit their dreams.  

Once you acknowledge the existence of your fear and learn how to address it productively instead of fighting it, you reclaim some of your power over it.  

Step Two: Find Your Fear’s Origins  

  • Determine where your fear originates and gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Knowing “the why” is a power diffuser. Is your fear based in lack of self-worth, self-love, self-doubt, rejection, or feelings of failure, or trepidation of success? If so, where did  this emotional trigger come from? Examine the negative assumptions you are making  and determine their source. This could be a childhood experience, something someone  said that you internalized, or some other event that created a negative self-assessment, which in turn is creating a fear. Knowledge is power, and it places you on the pathway toward healing.  
  • Take action to heal your fears’ origins. Healing comes through loving yourself and  seeking a deeper and richer understand of your authentic core. In my book, Yes! Commit. Do. Live, I explain, your “passions, loves, talents, gifts, and desires, along with  your character values, all inform and empower you.” These elements form your inner core. So let your fears reveal more of this inner core and show you something important that you may not have recognized. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, a deep dive into your inner core could unearth your talent for storytelling, listening, and  using empathy to connect with others. Nurturing those talents, which are all  components of a great public speaker, would empower you to meet your public  speaking fear. So, use that inner core power to meet and ultimately tame your fears.

Step Three: Focus on the Positive  

  • First, ask yourself what opportunities and adventures are now presented due to the fear  that has arisen. What possibilities for building new talents and skills are now open that were previously closed to you? Write them down and celebrate them as “what can be,” and then start envisioning them as “what is.” For example, that fear of public speaking could be preventing you from experiencing new opportunities in your career, family,  and friendships that could change your life. By focusing on the positive aspects of what  can be and the emotions that flow from that positive outlook, you shift your mindset away from negative thinking.  
  • Second, remember that negative thinking is often at the core of our fears. Without facts or evidence, we allow negative thoughts to paralyze us and convince us that  defeat/disaster is inevitable. By choosing to focus on the positive outcomes we can gain from facing the challenge, we gain power over negative thinking.  

As a state and federal prosecutor, I was afraid at the beginning of every trial. What if I didn’t succeed? What if I made a mistake? However, none of these fears were based on facts. By focusing on creating a positive outcome for the victim and empowering them through the trial  process, I could move forward through my fear. According to Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark  Robert Waldman in Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversations Strategies to Build Trust,  Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy, a single positive or negative word can actually alter our brains. There is neurological power in positive thinking, so the time is now to live in the  positive.  

Step Four: Transform the Feelings  

  • You can use your body’s responses to gain more control of your fears. What happens to you when fear arises? According to MedicalNewsToday, for some people, their limbs shake, their breathing becomes shallow, their mouths get dry, and their hearts race. While these reactions may on the surface seem negative, those physical manifestations  are tied to the excitement of the moment.  
  • Once you are aware of your fear responses, redefine them. Remember, there is power in positive-thought realignment. When I left the practice of law to begin a singing career, during my early musical auditions, I was confronted with the physical manifestations of fear. I had a choice. I could allow those manifestations to derail my singing career, or I could retrain my brain and body to create a new understanding of  what those manifestations represented. I chose the latter—and you can, too. Here’s  how: 

Redefine those manifestations and repeat the new definition continuously until they feel real.  Repeatedly tell yourself this new positive understanding:  

  • My body’s shake is the energy surge that fuels my excitement. 
    • My shallow breathing is my body’s signal to slow down and take in rich oxygen.
    • My rapid heart rate is my body’s preparation on a cellular level to ready me to  step into my excellence.

Visualize your success over your fear and allow the positive emotions that flow from that  success to flood your body, head to toe.  

Find your calm and peace the “DDB” way—engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing. At each fearful moment, use the 5-5-5-5 breathing pattern: Inhale for a count of five, hold for five, exhale for five, and repeat for five. This practice allowed me to stay present and focus on the beauty of the moment.  

Reset those feelings further by recording your successes and focusing on each time you were able to feel the fear and do it anyway. I allowed every positive audition to reinforce my new positive understanding of my body’s response to each exciting opportunity. This process of transference turns negative thinking positive.  

Step 5: Look at Fear as Your Friend and Celebrate It!  

Fear is an extension of ourselves. It moves us. It represents a chance for a beautiful life transition. Fear offers an opportunity for immense growth and introduces us to new and wonderful challenges. It can be a gateway to the most beautiful, exciting opportunities, helping  you to unleash talents and unearth new passions.  

By taking the preceding steps, you are able to tame your fears. Remember, fear is not a villain, so there is no need for an epic battle. Instead, fear requires a relationship with yourself. It is a welcomed companion, a catalyst for change to constantly challenge your status quo. So, the next time you feel fear, ask, “What opportunity lies on the other side?” Challenge yourself to live through it. Do what makes you shake! Do what makes you shy away! It may not  be easy, but it’s essential for continued breakthrough as you journey to your highest state of  excellence.  

When you’re willing to feel the fear and move forward anyway, you position yourself to truly  write your story, live your purpose, elevate your thoughts, visualize your success, and live a life  without regret and with passion, laughter, self-determination, and endless optimism.  

Join Lisa for her webinar, How to Take Your Fears from For to Friend

Lisa Charles is a federal prosecutor turned singer/actress, wellness expert, certified health coach/consultant, and an acclaimed speaker. She served as the Fitness/Wellness Research Coordinator for the Rutgers University Aging & Brain Health Alliance, and is the CEO of Embrace Your Fitness, LLC, and the Author of YES! COMMIT. DO. LIVE.

  • Join my email list at yescoachlisa.com
  • lisa@yescoachlisa.com
  • IG: @lisaembracefitness

Harness the Limitless Potential of Your Mind with Meditation

The mind is a powerful tool or weapon that can be used to work for us or against us. Everything begins with a thought. From the moment we wake up until laying our head on the pillow each night, our mind is consumed with thoughts; more than 60,000 a day by the time we reach age 40.

95% of those thoughts occur in the subconscious mind, making us unaware we have them or even what they are most of the time. Thoughts run on autopilot throughout the day unless we do the internal work to become aware of them and shift our thinking.

Awareness is the first step to reprogramming the mind with different thought patterns. Once we begin practicing a mindful lifestyle and becoming aware of the thought patterns that are regularly showing up in our lives, we can then learn and use tools to reprogram the mind to think differently. Think of it like this: the brain is the hardware, and our mind is the software, the software we use daily determines how we think, feel and react or respond to various situations.

The good news is, it is possible to “rewire the brain” a term referred to as neuroplasticity. The latest technology in science reveals that by creating new neural pathways in the brain, we are capable of rewiring neural pathways, creating new neurons that fire together which allows us to think and process differently, thus leading to less reactionary responses and more responding to our external environment.

The question is how do we do this if our mind is on autopilot and we are mostly unaware of our thoughts?

One answer is through the long-practiced method of meditation, a process of refocusing the mind. Meditation is a mental exercise that with practice trains the brain to think and process differently. It is through refocusing the mind to think about one thing and ultimately “no thing” that allows for us to tap into our subconscious mind and create new programming.

Often people say they cannot meditate or can’t calm their monkey mind. That is true for those who do not practice training it to be different. Being mentally fit is a practice that requires exercise, just as muscles do when training in the gym or recovering from a physical ailment. The mind must also be exercised and taught to think and react differently.

There are many different modalities to the practice of meditation, just as there are many workouts in the gym to become physically fit. It’s about exploring the types of modalities and finding one that works for you or your client. Mental resilience is built each time new neural connections are made, each time we go through a challenging time and overcome it, we become more mentally fit thus giving us resilience for the next time we face something hard.

Understanding how the brain works and how it pre-dispositioned to think negatively over positively, allows us to have compassion and patience with ourselves while learning to create a consistent routine of practicing meditation. Discovering the mind/body connection and how they work together also empowers us to be able to choose differently in situations where we become aware we are reacting from autopilot rather than choosing to respond.

Meditation is currently a $1 billion industry and is rapidly growing. Learning how to use meditation in your own life, while also learning how to instruct others through science-based, proven modalities expands your revenue offerings as well as helps clients heal faster and live happier lives.

Webinar with Briana Bragg

Join Briana for Re-booting the Mind/Body Connection for Empowered Living. This webinar will provide an overview of the mind/body connection with techniques to un-entangle from autopilot, and update our subconscious programming to live a happy, healthy, fulfilled life – while teaching your clients to do the same.

Briana Bragg is the founder of Vacation of the Mind®, a mental wellness company dedicated to helping one million people or more reduce stress, refocus the mind, and lead healthier and happier lifestyles through practical techniques of nature-centered mindfulness and meditation.  Briana is the author of “Journey into Tranquility®”, a meditation teacher training course that utilizes science-based methodologies of nature, meditation, and creative visualization in a three-step process Breathe, Refocus, Journey, curating guided journeys that connect people to nature and stillness. Briana’s dynamic energy and passion are fueled by her devotion to the well-being of others.

Unknown food

Body Image and Disordered Eating

Nearly 8 million individuals in the US currently have a diagnosable eating disorder. Though that is a big number, it’s not big enough to guarantee that everyone reading this knows someone who is impacted.  

Here’s the thing, that number DOES NOT include those with more subtle disordered eating symptoms. This broadens the scope quite a bit. 

What if we looked at diagnosable eating disorders as the far end of a spectrum?

Let’s call the other end, healthy intuitive eating.  

What does that mean?  Healthy intuitive eating means that you eat when you are hungry.  It also means that you eat what you are hungry for, and you stop when you feel satisfied.  

There are people that fall on that far end. Truly. I have even met one or two!  They are not unicorns- possibly the closest living things though. 

Let’s label everything in the middle as “disordered eating”.  This would include behaviors like overeating, food restricting, skipping meals, over-exercising, overly rigid eating schedules and so many more.

The majority of people, that I know anyway, lie somewhere in that space. Would you agree? Where do you fall?  

The big difference between eating disorders and disordered eating is that the latter is typically not lethal and is not all-encompassing. 

The big similarity is that more often than not, individuals impacted have a poor body image.  

Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:

  • What you believe about your own appearance 
  • How you feel about your body
  • How you sense and control your body as you move.  
  • How you physically experience or feel in your body. 

Many of us internalize messages starting at a young age that can lead to either positive or negative body image. Let’s clarify what that means.

Positive body image is a clear, true perception of your shape; seeing the various parts of your body as they really are. Body positivity involves feeling comfortable and confident in your body, accepting your natural body shape and size, and recognizing that physical appearance says very little about one’s character and value as a person. 

A negative body image, on the other hand, involves a distorted perception of one’s shape. Negative body image involves feelings of shame, anxiety, and self-consciousness. Those with negative body image are constantly comparing themselves to others without recognizing that they are essentially comparing apples to bananas… oranges aren’t far enough away…  In such comparisons, they determine their perceived self-worth or value.

As with disordered eating, body image concerns can affect most of us. Recognizing the positive in our bodies can have a huge impact on both of these things.  When you are stuck in a spiral of negative self talk, try thinking about things that your body can do.  It is easy to judge your looks by looking through unrealistic lenses, but what if you took a moment to appreciate the amazing machine that you possess.   

Are you a fitness or health professional? Register for Karli’s free webinar, co-presented with Christine Conti, Words Matter: Eating Disorder Truths & Triggers


Karli Taylor is an entrepreneur and leader passionately working to shape the nation’s fitness and wellness industry through innovative programming that can be incorporated into any lifestyle.  Karli has been in the industry for over 20 years. Beginning as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, she worked her way to an executive position at a fitness chain in the northeast where she worked behind the scenes for 5 years, until her love of teaching drove her to leave the corporate office for the gym floor.  She is the co-founder and creator of BarreFlow, through which she certifies fitness professionals around the globe.




Trauma-Informed Care for Personal Trainers

You may ask yourself, what is trauma informed care? Is this about having trauma ourselves so we can relate? Is this about understanding what trauma is? In actuality, trauma informed care is the idea of being mindful that others have past trauma that can influence how they feel, see, and interact with the world around us, and us as providers being mindful of that within our actions. To further explain, it goes back to being mindful of how the things we say and our own actions can inadvertently impact others, and how we can become self aware of that to help our clients feel safe and at ease to the best of our abilities.

We entered into a helping professional field to help individuals become stronger, better, happier and healthier, and yet sometimes, our clients & patients still struggle even with our best efforts. There might be times where we feel like we’re banging our head against the wall, even though we are doing everything we can to help! In my upcoming webinar, we will be looking at what some of those barriers are. We’ll discuss how something as simple and direct as changing how we say things, and having a sense of mindfulness to an individuals background and history, can not only change the dynamic of the relationship, but improve growth in treatment.

One important thing to remember is the intention of this is not to focus on what we might be doing wrong, but rather to expand in areas that we can grow in. We all are helpers because we want to see individuals grow and heal, and when we become trauma-informed, it can allow us to be aware of potential barriers, while at the same time, understanding how to overcome those barriers.

Join me for for my upcoming webinar on this topic of trauma informed care for personal trainers and medical personnel. I’ll discuss what trauma informed care means, how it can impact clients, and how the lack of trauma informed care can impact client care.

Bradley Lawrence Mallett, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Certified EMDRIA Therapist. After completing his Master’s in Counseling,  he became a counselor and pursued work within mindfulness, DBT, and trauma-focused care as a way to deal with anxiety management and trauma processing. Bradley strives to help individuals and communities learn about themselves, what their own barriers are, and their strengths as a way to help bring about the change that is needed and desired.


Balance Distorted Thinking – How to Say No to Negativity

Start with these methods to boost your mood naturally and defeat negative thinking.

Some days I feel more anxious than others. Feelings alter the way we think, and thoughts can turn negative feelings like depression, anxiety or anger into a positive experience just as easily if we practice self-help exercises (psychological not physical, in this case) to dissolve the issues. Usually there is a trigger that sets things reeling. Certain exercises can facilitate a shift from negative thinking or illogical thoughts to a happier, more balanced feeling.

Realize that life throws us curve balls just to keep us grounded (pardon the pun). Staying positive is not realistic or easy. For every negative emotion (for instance, sadness over the loss of a loved one or friend), there’s both a healthy and a negative version. Here are some useful tips that can make a difference.

Have a Laugh

Fun is cheap. If you have forgotten how to have fun, don’t wait for the next wedding or family reunion to laugh it up. Research shows that having fun and laughter decreases levels of the damaging stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. It also helps to laugh because it supports our immune system and protects us from illness. One minute of laughter boosts your immune system for over 24 hours. I am sure my last cold was short-lived because I made it a point, even when I felt terrible, to watch a funny movie or read an entertaining book. Turn off the news at dinner time or before you go to sleep.

Call a Friend

When feeling down, reach out to friends who don’t allow you to dwell on your pain, but also don’t ignore it. Stay away from the “Debbie Downers.” “If we surround ourselves with people who are joyous, hopeful, or make us laugh and live in the moment, that makes us feel much better.” – Helen Grusd, Ph.D, clinical psychologist

Say Thanks

You probably have a lot to be thankful for, despite bouts of pain or an injury that may have slowed you down. Focus on gratitude. Perhaps make a list you read out loud to yourself (it helps to hear yourself say the words) every day, and eventually you can memorize it, as it becomes a part of your consciousness and diverts any negative feelings that keep you stuck.

Do Something – Anything

  • Go out and shop for your favorite bath scent and take the best bubble bath since you were five years old.
  • Start a journal. When you see the words pop from the page it creates a different reality.
  • Agree when people might ask you to join them in an activity. Say yes to more things instead of no. Saying no will isolate you more in life.
  • Play more, be child-like and I can guarantee the benefits will pay off.
  • Don’t cook tonight, have your dinner delivered. Why? Because YOU deserve it!

Get Lost in a Song

It’s hard for negative thoughts to occupy the same space in your brain if you’re listening to happy music. A recent study found listening to upbeat music improves moods short term and boosted overall happiness over a two-week period. It can also reduce your level of pain. You’ll find yourself sitting less as you tap your toes to the rhythm of the song. Then, stand up and dance as if no one is looking.

Mood busters only work, like exercise for our body, if you practice regularly and before your mood sinks too low.

Go Outside

Those who enjoy spending time outdoors are more likely to like themselves. Be a nature lover. Taking a walk or hike, in addition to relieving depression, it helps distract from negative energy you might be carrying. If you would rather be outside and just pull weeds or plant a new exotic plant, that will work too. It also keeps fitness buffs energized.

Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. Originally published on Lori’s Fitness Blog For Active Adults and Seniors.

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

Stressed Man Working At Desk In Busy Creative Office

5 Surprising Ways That Your Job Influences Your Health

Different aspects of your life can affect your health. Exercise, food intake, and sleep are prevalent factors. Unknowingly, your job also affects your mental and physical health. You must consider it if you wish to live a healthy lifestyle.

You spend a majority of your waking hours at work. Several studies have pointed out that the work environment affects your overall well-being and relationships with other people. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Work Overload

Overworking can have adverse effects that include mood disorders, debilitating stress, and illness. If you have little control over your workload, you may experience burnout. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of employees and managers face stress at work that results from competition between coworkers, tense working environments, and a feeling of walking on eggshells.

The World Health Organization describes burnout as a type of chronic work stress depleting energy and diminishing efficacy. 50% of workers quit their jobs because of it. You tend to mentally disengage from your coworkers and become increasingly adverse about them. Cynicism with extended working hours drains your joy about working and increases exhaustion.

Depression and anxiety are also prevalent when you overwork yourself. Your moodiness can affect your relationships with your colleagues and supervisors. Overworking can also increase overall work dissatisfaction and heighten anxiety, and you also experience low self-esteem and have feelings of inadequacy. Your feelings of helplessness and restlessness can make you slip into depression.

Lack of Physical Activity

If you work in an office setup, your lack of physical activity can result in several health problems. Your sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle-related pain, fatigue, and diabetes. You are also susceptible to eye issues if you stay glued to your computer every day.

You often get lost in work and spend hours in your seat. If you suffer from constant backache, you now know why. Sitting in your office chair for extended periods can strain and overstretch your back muscles.

Hating Your Job

If you love your work, you are fortunate because you can pay your bills doing things you like to do. Unfortunately, if you hate what you do but stay in your job to pay the bills, you become unhappy and eventually suffer from stress and exhaustion.

The University of Manchester released the results of its study about poor-quality jobs. According to them, staying in a job you have can wreak havoc on your mental health. It is even worse than being jobless. A passive-aggressive boss, hostile co-employees, and mind-numbing tasks, together with spending more than 40 hours per week in your office, can worsen your situation.

If you are dealing with a mental health issue, you can experience stress, burnout, and exhaustion, especially if you cannot find other jobs or feel obligated to stay because you have bills to pay. Your loss of autonomy and feeling of indebtedness can be emotionally draining.

You feel stuck because your mental health issues do not allow you to find your way out. You do not have the motivation to search for alternatives. You feel helpless and hopeless to change your situation. Getting out of the trapped mindset needs a courageous effort.

Long Commute

The workday starts and ends with your commute. If you live in a large city, your commute takes longer. You become less happy and experience burnout quicker. Your daily commute is also a health risk as commute distance and time continually increase. As a commuter, you spend more than a total of 80 minutes getting to and from work.

The situation worsens if you must commute from one city to another. It increases your blood pressure. You experience heightened cortisol and adrenaline levels that raise your risk of a heart attack. Respiratory issues and air pollution exposure can also have acute effects on your health.

If you stay in your car for an hour’s drive to work, you are adding one more hour to your sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity can lead to diabetes and obesity. Aside from the physical manifestations, an extended commute can also lead to listlessness, boredom, anger, and stress.

Although you can deal with them, you suffer from long-term chronic stress if such moments occur daily. Driving through traffic can result in expending more mental and physical energies that can be exhausting.

Interpersonal Relationships at Work

Establishing close connections with your coworkers is healthy. You are less likely to feel burnout and become happier if you have more camaraderie with your colleagues. Belonging to a group increases your sense of purpose, meaning, affinity, agency, and control. You become competent and productive at work because of your identification with your company.

However, if you have negative work interactions or experience bad bosses and bullying, your health can suffer. Loneliness can result in your untimely demise. Therefore, you must connect with other people in your company. If you can find connectivity with your bosses or coworkers, you can search elsewhere.



The Seven Stages of Grief for Chronic Disease and Stress

Many individuals have heard of the five stages of grief created by Elizabeth Kubler – Ross in 1969. This model is used to explain the stages of grief over the loss of a loved one.

There has been an updated model called the Seven Stages of Grief for Chronic Pain and Chronic Illness by Dr. Jennifer Martin, PsyD of imaginelifetherapy.com.

According to imaginelifetherapy.com, there are seven stages of grief for chronic disease, which are denial, pleading, bargaining and desperation, anger, anxiety and depression, loss of self and confusion, and finally, acceptance. Clients can go from one stage to another until finally reaching acceptance. An individual, for example, can go from denial to anger and back to denial. Everyone will go through the stages on their own timing. There is no set time for anyone to reach acceptance of their situation. If your client can see positive changes after working with you, their outlook will be more positive. As they become stronger and learn more skills, clients will become more ambulatory and be able to do more over time. (Pratt, 2018)

Many times, clients will be experiencing their symptoms and the stages of grief simultaneously. We usually think of grief in respect to the loss of a loved one. With chronic disease, your client may be grieving the life they used to live. Knowing that their lives may change because of an illness is very stressful. The individual may be thinking about the future and how their health will be ten years from now. As a fitness professional, you need to help your client to be present and in the moment. The work that your client does today will influence how mobile they are ten years from now. If they are discouraged by the big picture, it will be harder for them to stay focused. (Kade, 2020)

Each stage of grief has its own parameters and can give your insight as to which stage your client is currently in. Empathy and support are a critical part of helping your client to get through the stages of grief. Tailor exercise programming to what your client can handle each time they train with you. If someone is having a rough day, you can offer the client a meditation session instead of a training session. This trade-off will make your client feel more open and may even suggest meditation if they are not mentally ready for a training session. (Pratt, 2018).

To know which stage of grief your client may be in, you must have a firm understanding of what each stage is. Denial is the first stage in which the individual was just diagnosed and is in shock. They can’t believe that this is happening to them and wonder how they will make changes and live a good life. Shock can help the person to decide to move on to the next stage and start working through the stages. It may also backfire if the individual who has the condition thinks that it will eventually go away, or they will be fine. (Pratt, 2018).

The next stage is pleading, bargaining and desperation, where the client tries really hard to bargain or plead to not have a chronic illness. The individual also wishes they could go back to the life that they had. They may feel guilty and blame themselves for becoming sick and wondering if they could have done more to prevent their illness. Guilt usually comes with bargaining as the person blames themselves for their situation. (Pratt, 2018).

Anger is a crucial stage for individuals to begin the healing process. There is no specific timeline for your client to get through the anger stage. Please note that your client may come in angry some days when training, but they aren’t angry with you. Try to remain empathetic and patient as the individual goes through this stage. Keep in mind that everyone on the healthcare team often sees anger from the individual who is experiencing chronic illness. It is normal for your client to be angry at their doctor, caregiver, family, friends and even you. They will most likely apologize after showing you that they are visibly angry. This stage comes later in the process when the disease progresses, and the individual realizes that life will change. (Pratt, 2018).

Anxiety and depression will set in next as life changes are solidified. The feelings of depression can be substantial and seem to your client like they will never go away. If your client starts to withdraw, offer meditation instead of a training session to keep the client on track. Try to also be understanding about their condition and how they are feeling. If they must cancel with you, ask that they do so within a certain amount of time as your time is valuable too. You may want to also invite the client to a sip, paint and meditate class to help keep their spirits up. The goal is to try and keep these individuals on track using different modalities. There may also be anxiety about the future and the unknown as the person wonders what will happen to them. (Pratt, 2018).

The loss of self and confusion is very real for individuals with a chronic illness. In this stage, life has changed so much for this individual that they do not recognize themselves. They can’t do the things that they used to and have to redefine themselves and decide how to go about doing that. This stage may happen at the same time as anxiety and depression or separately. (Pratt, 2018).

In the stage of re-evaluation of Life, Roles and Goals, your client will be thinking about how they can move forward as a wife, mother, husband, father, sibling and friend. They are forced to re-evaluate how they fit into the picture and what that means in daily life figuring out how to go about daily activities and what work will look like for them. (Pratt, 2018).

The final stage is acceptance in which the client accepts his or her new reality. The client is not usually ok with it and happy, but they learn how to deal with their new norm. They strive to learn new skills to make life better and discover new things that bring joy into their lives. This is the stage that your client will be most accepting of trying new exercises and tools in your training sessions. (Pratt, 2018).

Robyn Kade is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 20 years of experience in medical-based fitness. 



Adapted from: Pratt, Amanda. “7 Stages of Grief for Chronic Pain and Chronic Illness: St. Petersburg Therapist.” Chronic Illness Therapy, 3 Aug. 2018, imaginelifetherapy.com/7-stages-of-grief-for-chronic-pain-and-illness/

Kade, Robyn. Mind/Body Medicine Specialist Manual. 4th ed. / USA, Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals, 2020.



From Stifled Screams to Suicide: More People 85+ Choose the Latter

In my private practice, I hear people repeatedly say, “I feel so ____ and I just want to yell.”

“Do you?” I ask. Fairly often the answer is, “No.”

I ask, “What stops you from yelling?” We may explore this reluctance, or I might ask, “What would need to be different for you to feel comfortable yelling, screaming, humming or making some other audible release?”  

Perhaps you too feel like releasing energy in this way. Recently, a woman in her eighties shared with me, “I was shopping with my friend who is 35-years younger than me and all the store clerks’ directed their answers to her when I was the one asking the questions. Even if I screamed, right there in the store, I am certain I wouldn’t be heard.”

There is a disproportionate number of older adults who commit suicide. Many countries are witnessing declining rates, while the US is seeing higher rates – with older Americans having the highest suicide rate of any age group. While older Americans contribute to 13 percent of the population, this age group accounts for 20% of the people who commit suicide. 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported in 2019, that suicide among those 85 years and older represented the second largest number of suicides by age range, with the greatest number being among those in the 45 to 64-year age range. 

There are many reasons why a person may seek out mental health support – fear, stress, anger, sadness, confusion, substance abuse concerns – and yet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates a mere 3% of people 65 and older have made the brave move of utilizing mental health services. 

We can turn to the research of Speer & Schneider to see a direct link between untreated mental health and physical manifestations – immune and cardiac functions, increased susceptibility of infections, higher levels of reported pain, asthma and increases in length of recovery following surgery. Just think of how much less physical health needs there might be if we tend to our mental health.

Some older adults are much more likely to get a physical check-up than access mental health services. Another reason for some older adults not accessing mental health services may be due to insurance payment disparity. Medicare covers 80 percent of procedures and processes related to physical health and only 50 percent of mental health. Discussions of cataracts, glaucoma and hip procedures flow from the mouths of some older adults as freely as the Neuse River flowed once the Milburnie Dam was removed. And yet when it comes to talking about mental health, chatter is at a minimum.

I invite you to tap into your primal roots and begin making noise. Harmonize your body by screaming, yelling, humming or something else. Let it out. Perhaps love can fill the space that is being occupied with years of stifled screams.

Adrienne Ione is a cognitive behavioral therapist and personal trainer who integrates these fields in support of people thriving across the lifespan. As a pro-aging advocate, she specializes in the self-compassion of dementia.

Website: yes2aging.com
Guided Meditations: insighttimer.com/adrienneIone
Facebook: silverliningsintegrativehealth


Speer & Schneider. (2013). Mental health needs of older adults and primary care: Opportunities for interdisciplinary geriatric team practice. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice10(1).


Mental Habits and Chronic Pain

People faced with the day in day out experience of ongoing muscle and joint pain often develop mental habits to help them cope that can actually make their condition worse.1 Emotions such as anger, depression and/or making comparisons to how things used to be before the physical problem began, distracts the brain temporarily to help override current sensations of pain. While these mental habits can provide fleeting relief, they also serve to prolong chronic pain conditions by changing brain chemistry and altering the mind and body’s response to pain.