6 Top Stress Cures You Haven't Already Heard

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Surprise #2: Become a Queen of Denial

In today's confessional culture, we're constantly encouraged to share our feelings. Let it out! Don't repress! Well...not always. In fact, denial can be a terrific coping strategy. If the stressor is something over which you have no control, simply pull a Scarlett O'Hara and tell yourself, "I'll think about it tomorrow."

No one, it should go without saying, is advising you to ignore serious issues that demand immediate action (a breast lump, for example, or a depressed teenager). But sometimes denial can give you a little breathing room. "Temporarily denying or avoiding unpleasant facts won't change a situation," observes J. Michael Bostwick, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, "but it can prevent you from being overwhelmed and give you time to get acclimated." The idea behind this strategy is to suppress whatever is stressing you out until you're able to deal with it in a more appropriate manner. Moreover, every once in a while, if you ignore it, it actually will go away.

It Worked for Her: Pushing life's mute button is easier said than done, of course, but here is a method that really does work. When Martha Kaminsky, 55, of Ithaca, New York, feels overwhelmed, she writes down all her worries on a piece of paper, hides it away, then tells herself, "It's out of my hands." A few months later, she'll revisit the list and, nine times out of 10, the majority of those once-critical concerns have resolved themselves while she was officially in denial. The concerns that are still valid, in turn, become easier to deal with because by then Kaminsky has cooled off and is able to approach the problems in a more rational, objective way.

Continued on page 3:  Surprise #3: Go to Extremes


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