Beat Stress for Women's Health

Published Monday, September 27, 2010 6:58 PM

October: a season of pumpkins and pink ribbons. It's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  a reminder for women and their families that the spectre of breast cancer remains far scarier than any Halloween ghoul.

While the fight against breast cancer is waged in research labs and at 5-K fundraisers across the country, women can and should take steps to protect themselves. Mammograms, breast self-exams and a healthy lifestyle can all help guard against this disease.

This fall, commit to an extra precaution by working to eliminate unnecessary stress in your life. While a myriad of factors can lead to cancer, studies indicate that stress likely plays a role. And a recent study shows that former breast cancer patients have greater odds of a reoccurance if they forgo stress-busting therapies while battling their disease.

Stress Less

While the science is unclear about the link between stress and breast cancer, what is unambiguous is minimizing stress leads to better mental and physical health.  So what are you waiting for? It's time to de-stress. To begin, make sure you are making healthy lifestyle choices, including:

  • Get enough sleep. Dozing on the commute or in front of the TV isn't enough. Deep, regenerative sleep is needed regularly.
  • Exercise. No time for a regular regimen? Walk around the block during lunch or midday to recharge.
  • Eat a balanced diet. You are what you eat. So eat well.
  • Think positively. Sounds clichéd but positive thinking can translate into positive outcomes. Negative thinking can take a toll on the body.

Combating Stress at Work

Deadlines, shrinking budgets, economic uncertainty, work provides plenty of sources of stress. To keep stress from ballooning into full-fledged burnout try these tips:

  • Practice realistic time management: Don't over commit; understand how long it takes to get tasks done.
  • Practice task management: Prioritize, break projects into small, manageable tasks and delegate.
  • Organize: Clutter creates stress. Organize for optimum mental performance.
  • Use your Emotional Intelligence: Master your emotions. Be self-aware and work on techniques to quickly calm yourself and remain a rational thinker when under duress.

Finally, consider techniques such as meditation, yoga, aromatherapy or the ten-minute day dreaming break. Spend time musing about your weekend, next vacation or that day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, when breast cancer is just a memory.

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