Don’t Let Stress Get You Down

dlsgydDo you know how to be good to yourself? Here, 43 little lifts that will improve your mood when you need it most.

Last Saturday, my life descended into a bad sitcom: My husband was at work, and I invited my friend Gina to have lunch with me and my infant daughter. Before Gina arrived, however, FedEx delivered an enormous box containing a stroller that I had ordered–along with 11 other boxes that held high chairs mistakenly shipped to me. Gina, who is nine months pregnant, had to squeeze through a mountain of cardboard to get in the door. So did the visitor who arrived two minutes later–a baby-sitter whom I had wanted to meet and whose appointment I had forgotten.

By 4:00 p.m.–after a lunch during which my daughter wailed and Gina began having contractions–I was a wreck. When my husband walked in the door, I knew I needed first aid. An enlightened soul, he gave me a foot massage, fixed me some scrambled eggs, and looked after the baby. Then, I turned to a routine that has helped me survive many a disaster: I retreated to a steaming tub, dug out a nightshirt I’ve had since college, and fell asleep to a videotape of The Women.

Most of us, of course, have developed our own comfort prescriptions for a Read More »

Fear: As Natural As Anything

fanayDizziness, a racing heartbeat, a feeling of being nearly paralyzed-these are some of the terrifying symptoms that an anxiety disorder can cause. How two women triumphed over this baffling condition.

Anxiety is actually a healthy emotion. Without it, we couldn’t anticipate danger and prod ourselves into action. But abnormal anxiety is of no use at all. It sets off false alarms in our minds, dramatically exaggerating perceived dangers and provoking terror and dread that interfere with daily life. An anxiety disorder can also be humiliating, according to Robert DuPont, M.D., coauthor of The Anxiety Cure, because sufferers know it’s irrational yet cannot control their obsessive thoughts and physical symptoms. “It is like putting your hand into a pocketful of fishhooks,” says Dr. DuPont. “The more you struggle, the more hooked you get.”

More than 17 percent of Americans aged 15 to 54 experience an anxiety disorder in a given year, according to a national survey conducted by Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School. Largely because of the shame attached to mental illness, fewer than one quarter of these people seek help. On these pages, two women break the silence surrounding this common mental-health problem and describe how they Read More »

Sleep Deprivation Can Be Beaten!

sdcbbWhen the alarm clock says go but your body says no, these tricks will give you the energy you need–all day.

You’d the subject of losing night’s sleep would merit one word: yawn! After all, you don’t need anyone to tell you how lousy you feel the day after you’ve been kept awake by a sick child, the rush to meet a deadline, or anxiety about an upcoming event.

Yet the topic turns out to be the subject of hot research. Organizations including the U.S. Army, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation have a serious interest in what effects even a few lost hours of sleep have on soldiers, astronauts, airline pilots, truck drivers, doctors, and shift workers. Happily, their studies have done more than just catalog the ill effects of sleep deprivation; they’ve also yielded scientifically sound strategies for overcoming them–no matter what your Read More »