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Spend money mindfully to stress less
June 8th, 2012
03:19 PM ET

Spend money mindfully to stress less

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

Would you consider embarking upon a mindful spending challenge?

In poll after poll, Americans say that the state of their finances is one of the biggest sources of their stress.

“People are spending money they do not have to buy things they may not need,” observed Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow at Harvard’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Center and author of “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World,” during our recent interview.

While researching his book, Wagner discovered that more than 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending. Increasingly, over the last 20 or so years, that consumer spending has been fueled by debt. The savings rate in 2007, immediately before the economic collapse we are still slogging through, was negative 2%. That kind of spending is unsustainable, said Wagner, “economically, environmentally and spiritually.”

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Traffic, toddlers and technology: Your stress dilemmas solved
May 11th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Traffic, toddlers and technology: Your stress dilemmas solved

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

Last week we responded to your questions about some of life’s most stressful circumstances. Is it any surprise that the themes running through our experts’ advice read like a laundry list of wisdom from the elders?

If you do not care for yourself, you will not be able to care for others.

Figure out what’s truly important and do not look for perfection.

Do your best to remain in the present moment, free of the shackles of the past and fear for what the future holds.

All of these are far easier said (and written), of course. It is the execution that's most difficult.

The first step is awareness. With that in mind - here are some more of your stress questions answered:
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Longer commutes may steal health and fitness
May 8th, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Longer commutes may steal health and fitness

Anybody who has a long daily commute knows the frustration of sitting in traffic with nothing to do but wait. Now, a study suggests that long commutes can take away more than just precious time - they also negatively impact your fitness and health.

Previous research has linked longer commutes with obesity. But this new research is believed to be "the first study to show that long commutes can take away from exercise time,” explained lead investigator Christine M. Hoehner of Washington University in St. Louis.

Long commutes are associated with "higher weight, lower fitness levels and higher blood pressure, all of which are strong predictors of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers,” she said.

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Your questions about stress answered!
May 4th, 2012
08:06 AM ET

Your questions about stress answered!

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

Earlier this week we put out a call over social media for your questions about stress and anxiety. We received a slew of insightful queries, covering a wide spectrum of life’s stressors.

Due to the number of submissions, we had to combine some questions and divide our lightning round into two parts. Make sure to check back next week for part two, along with a synthesis of our experts’ advice.

Our panel of experts includes:

  • UC Davis professor Jay Belsky, a developmental psychologist and an internationally recognized expert on the role of nature and nurture in shaping children and families
  • Dr. Judith Orloff, professor of psychiatry at UCLA and bestselling author of “Emotional Freedom
  • Dr. Rajita Sinha, professor of psychiatry, neurobiology and child study at Yale University and director of the Yale Stress Center

I love my kids but...

I adore my four little (but lively) children, but they stress me out. How can I better handle the stress of raising children, along with everything else that I have to do? FULL POST


Why stress makes colds more likely
April 2nd, 2012
03:07 PM ET

Why stress makes colds more likely

Most of us know from experience that stress weakens our immune system. Colds always seem to strike when we're overworked or emotionally exhausted, as do eczema flare-ups, headaches and a myriad of other health problems.

Doctors long ago confirmed that the connection between stress and health is real, but they haven't been able to fully explain it. Now, in a new study, researchers say they've identified a specific biological process linking life stressors - such as money trouble or divorce - to an illness.

In this case it's the common cold.
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Filed under: Cold and flu • Health.com • Stress

What to do when you're 'malemployed'
March 8th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

What to do when you're 'malemployed'

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

“Ruin my weekend? My boss ruined my life!”

So wrote JJ Jeffers, one of a few hundred commenters on last week’s story, “Is your boss ruining your weekend?

“My new boss makes me work every weekend,” wrote commenter kit8. “Hence, I don’t feel stress about going to work on Monday as I am always at work.”

It’s the plight of the malemployed, defined by Urban Dictionary as “when what you do for a living makes you want to kill yourself.”
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Is your boss ruining your weekend?
February 26th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Is your boss ruining your weekend?

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

Most Sundays last year, Juliet woke up feeling fine. But as the day wore on, she grew more agitated.

“By early afternoon I felt sick with stress and was walking around snapping at everyone. It was my husband who finally figured out that I was dreading going back to work Monday morning. The anticipation was ruining my Sundays."

Juliet had loved her job until the company where she worked was bought out. The culture of the organization originally built and run by a handful of idealistic scientists shifted overnight.

“The scientists were out, and the incoming CEO and leadership team were these marketing types who set an entirely different tone. The new executives were like these funnels of stress, spreading anxiety throughout the organization.”
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How to stop your kids from stressing
Children can develop coping skills by handling some stress. Experts advocate maintaining kids' routines during stressful times.
February 16th, 2012
09:43 AM ET

How to stop your kids from stressing

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

There is a good chance that my children (and yours) are stressed out on a daily basis.

Not necessarily from catastrophic burdens such as death, abuse or abandonment (though far too many children are dealing with those as well), but from the slow boil of everyday anxieties a swell of unrelenting childhood stress that, in the long term, may bury our kids good and well in a tsunami of serious health problems.

More, faster, better

High on the list of stressors is the pressure many parents place on their kids: the mentality that the earlier a child does something walks, talks, reads chapter books, excels in advanced robotics for kindergartners the better.
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Narcissistic men have higher levels of stress hormone
January 23rd, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Narcissistic men have higher levels of stress hormone

Men who are narcissistic are likely to have higher levels of a primary stress hormone called cortisol, a new study finds.

However, the same trend was not as strong for women with narcissist traits, according to research published Monday in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

“The more narcissistic, the more cortisol that men have in mundane situations,” said author Sara Konrath, who is the director of the Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research at the University of Michigan.
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In denial: Why we’re still stressed
January 18th, 2012
02:29 PM ET

In denial: Why we’re still stressed

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

Stress in America, the American Psychological Association’s annual survey, came out last week.

The results were not particularly shocking. Large numbers of Americans are stressed out. Many, extremely so. And far too many are failing to take adequate action to alleviate the stress in their lives.

All of which led my editors to wonder: If we recognize the negative health implications of high stress levels - heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression, among others - then why are so many of us doing such a poor job at managing it?
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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