Q & A with Bernie – March 19, 2012

Question for Bernie:

I’m going through treatment for breast cancer. Being stuck at home while in treatment can be lonely and depressing, especially when one is used to working and being fairly active. What suggestions do you have for entertaining one’s self? I find if I’m too still, my mind goes to the “what ifs….”

Also, do you have any tips for dealing with white coat hypertension, my newest “diagnosis?”

Bernie’s Answer:

This is the time to ask friends and family to visit and entertain you. They can say “no,” but if you don’t ask you are not behaving like a survivor.

Something that can entertain you and at the same time enhance your healing is meditation or creative visualization. Browse through my catalog on the website and select those CDs that you would enjoy. Meditation is a skill that directly addresses how to eliminate the “what if” thinking that can cast a negative shadow on daily life.

It is important to tell all of your doctors what you need from them, particularly about how the attitude of each affects you. Let them know very clearly that you see yourself as a survivor and need each of your doctors to have a positive attitude that supports your survivor behaviors.

As you probably know, I am a great believer in the power of humor to strengthen the immune system and make whatever healing journey we are on just that much more positive. Find a way to introduce some humor into your interactions with your doctors and their staff. I’ve seen some very funny greeting cards about physician-patient communication so sending one or bringing it along on your office visit could go a long way toward a warmer, more open relationship with your doctors and the office staff. White coat hypertension will disappear if you can help to create a friendlier, warmer, and more open environment when you go in for a medical appointment or treatment.

box-of-chocolatesSpeaking of the staff, don’t overlook how much it can help if the energy coming to you from them whether in person or by telephone is also positive. Send them some flowers or bring by a big box of candy or healthy, beautiful basket of fruit for all to enjoy.



Question for Bernie:

I am writing to ask for some specific guidance in dealing with a lifelong problem of fear. I’m not talking about fear of bad guys or ghosts; I’m talking about the fear that something bad is going to happen. In fact, I am usually in a state of planning and anticipating that something bad is lurking right around the corner.

This is my normal life, even when things are going perfectly well. However, it really gets exacerbated and spirals into anxiety when something bad actually does occur, such as several friends receiving cancer diagnoses.

I am a 49-year-old woman and really want to feel better so that I can start engaging in my life and not planning and worrying about what tomorrow holds. Any help you can offer will be very much appreciated.

Bernie’s Answer:

Your question is one that I have heard several times from patients through the years. I remember one time when someone asked this question in one of my groups, and my answer produced a moment of complete quiet—I said, “Well, I find drugs and alcohol are very effective.” I looked around but couldn’t keep my “straight face” very long at all, so everyone began laughing with me. I wanted to introduce a discussion about the value of laughter in our lives by giving an example “dry humor.”

Think about what makes you laugh—whether it is something from the distant past that you experienced in your family or with friends, or something more recent—whether it is a movie you love and find very funny or a comedian—just try to recall as best you can. Whenever you begin to develop fear around anticipation of something “bad” happening, immediately call one or more of these funny experiences to mind. Fear dissipates in the face of laughter because when we laugh, we relax and can gain perspective.

Put the correct perspective on fear as being that part of human behavior designed to protect you from falling from high places, the warning of loud noises, and other physical dangers like the potential bite of a rabid dog.

Fear that you essentially “manufacture” from imagining that something “bad” might happen diminishes the ability to grow, heal, and fight infections. When you allow this manufactured fear to dominate your emotional life, you are constantly triggering the release of adrenaline (part of the immune response) unnecessarily.

It is important to really face your fears so that you can let go of them. I would need details of your fears to help you help yourself. An example might be if you told me you were afraid of dying from cancer. I would need to probe deeper to help you find out what the true underlying fear is so that you could address that.

meditation candle bowlIf you believe you can do this on your own, I recommend looking at the meditation and visualization CDs I have in my catalog and selecting one or more to start. Make meditation and visualization a daily part of your life so that you can gain and keep perspective on where “fear” belongs in your life.

You could consider finding a therapist, perhaps on referral from a trusted friend, who might be able to help you get started at looking very closely at your fears. You might discover that something was lacking in how you were parented leaving your “broken” in some ways. You can learn how to re-parent yourself and heal those wounds if they are there.

I also recommend that you read A Book of Miracles in which I have collected the powerful true stories of people who share their own transformative experiences. One thread of truth that comes clearly through many of these great stories is that today is all we really have—it is all about today, not tomorrow or next week, or next year. When you can really accept that and adopt it as your outlook on life, it is amazing how much you can accomplish and how little time there is for worry—worry is a useless activity. It takes precious time. When you think about life as “just today” there is absolutely no time to devote to worry. Finally, here are some “To do’s” for you:

  1. Let the child in you out and enjoy life;
  2. Love life and love your body; and
  3. Study the sages of the past and they will teach you with their wisdom.



Question for Bernie:

I am suffering from dementia (maybe Alzheimer’s). I am very depressed as I no longer am able to do the things I love like woodworking, etc. My life feels empty. I am 80-year-old and an MD. Any suggestions?

Bernie’s Answer:

brain food buckets of berriesYes, first of all, improve your brain’s nutrition.

Here are some ways to do that:

1. Non-prescription Prevagen


2. Prescription Axona


3. Add multiple nutrients with information from


Also, keep using your brain in games and puzzles. Find new hobby, take up painting (oils, watercolor, acrylic), learn to play a musical instrument, or if you already know how to play one, start playing regularly and even have a few family and friends over for a “recital.”