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Positive Psychology for Wellness Pros
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Are You Using Too Much CYA?

Are You Using Too Much CYA?

Health promotion doesn't require that much CYAI’ll be blunt. Too many of us, wellness professionals of all kinds, use CYA by giving people all the possible warnings related to more exercise. And I get it. No one wants to be part of the causes for a torn muscle. In our litigious culture, there’s always a fear of lawsuits that can be long, painful and costly.

But what about the very real warning that too little exercise is even more hurtful to our bodies than a possible exercise-related injury? Do we also share that concern? We can’t see a heart attack waiting to happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Not to mention, it is harder to nurse back to health than a sprained ankle…

I recently participated in the Go Red! luncheon of the American Heart Association, and I learned that:

  • Since 1900, cardio-vascular disease (CVD) has been the #1 cause of death in the United States
  • CVD kills more people than all forms of cancer combined, and more people than the next 7 causes of death combined
  • Every minute, one woman dies of heart disease in the USA.

These stats are disheartening, and they come with an additional piece of bitter-sweet news: 80% of CVD is completely preventable.

Changing How We Do Health Promotion

So go ahead. Tell your clients to run all they can. Dance like no one is watching. Flex like they’re The Hulk. Don’t be so worried if one of them gets a little too excited and pulls a muscle next week. We all live and learn. But worry that their hearts still beat life into their sexy bodies 10 years from today. As wellness leaders, it is up to us to start creating norms where stronger health matters more than CYA.

One last piece of food for thought. If you still feel that warnings are of utmost importance, then consider warning people to consult with their doctors before they take on a new job, because job stress is more likely to hurt them than extra exercise. See my earlier post about how your boss is impacting your health, or this Huffington Post’s Infographic about how the job may be slowly killing you.

Ready to propel your clients towards more exercise? Our online program can help you get it done.

MJ Shaar – in 20 seconds


MJ is one of the most sought-after experts blending positive psychology and health promotion. She spent over 15 years coaching, teaching, speaking, researching and testing smart health habits. Marie-Josée Shaar received her undergrad at McGill University in Organizational Behavior, followed by a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. She's certified as a Wellness Culture Coach, a Personal Trainer, and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.

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