MomTalk.com January 27, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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Focus on You


By Julia Tolliver Maranan

If you feel swamped with stress, you're not alone. According to a National Women's Health Resource Center survey, more than 90 percent of the 681 respondents believed they faced moderate to high stress levels every day -- and fewer than half said they always felt capable of dealing with it. Left unresolved, chronic stress can lead to (or worsen) all kinds of health problems, including mood swings, sleep disturbances, PMS, inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis, dermatitis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and even heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, stress expert and author of Body for LIFE for Women (Rodale). The culprit? Blame cortisol, that sneaky stress hormone that weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to health woes. By following Peeke's stress-busting suggestions, however, you can increase your energy and keep yourself sane and healthy.

Adjust your attitude. If you're caring for an ailing family member, stuck in a dreadful job, or simply overwhelmed by the demands of having young children, your situation won't change overnight. While you work toward adjusting what you can (look for a new job, hire help), your attitude is your best defense. "It's not stressful unless you perceive it as such," says Peeke. Use humor to look at your situation differently. And instead of obsessing about obstacles -- and there will always be obstacles -- try to see them as opportunities to care for yourself well during adversity and to grow stronger and wiser.
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