by Drs. Rick and Jan Hanson
Pay attention to everything that's going well, not badly, and try to see the silver lining or even humor in your situation.
Talk back to pessimistic thoughts in your mind by arguing with them forcefully. A fundamental psychological skill is to be able to observe one's thoughts dispassionately and question how true or wise they are.
Get out and have some fun. We know this sometimes seems impossible, but if you make it a priority - and talk with your partner about watching the children or make an arrangement with another mom to do something enjoyable together with your kids - it will certainly happen.
Connect with other people. Women have evolved to rely on "tend and befriend" more than "fight or flight" reactions to cope with stress; reaching out to others actually releases hormones that protect your body from stress. We often withdraw from people when we're feeling down, but instead, try to call a friend.
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Rick Hanson is a clinical psychologist, Jan Hanson is an acupuncturist/nutritionist, and they are raising a daughter and son, ages 12 and 15. With Ricki Pollycove, M.D., they are the first and second authors of Mother Nurture: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, published by Penguin. You can see their website at www.nurturemom.com or email them with questions or comments at email@example.com; unfortunately, a personal reply may not always be possible.
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