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Get a Grip: How to Beat Stress and Take Control of Your Life

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Don't let daily stresses pull you off course. With the right attitude, you can take control of your finances, your fitness routine, and your love life -- take charge!

Stand Up and Take Charge

My life list is short and simple: I'd like to buy an apartment, finish the novel I've been writing, lose a few pounds, and be in a healthy relationship. Not too much to ask, right? And yet a couple of months ago, with the economy tanking, no boyfriend in sight, and a novel that's half-finished, I was feeling frantic, wondering if I could ever turn things around.

"If our lives seem out of control, the world becomes frightening," says Nancy Molitor, PhD, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. That can create a scenario in which all you want to do is curl up in your jammies. But instead of pulling the covers over your head, you need to stand up and take charge. "When you feel equipped to face whatever life throws your way, you feel happier, healthier, stronger," Molitor says.

Start by identifying things that you can change, she advises. Most of us feel beaten down because we obsess over problems we can't do anything about, such as rising prices. But if you focus on what's in your power, like how often you work out or the amount of money you save, you'll be amazed by what you can accomplish. Here's how I took over the reins -- and you can too.

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