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Learning to Cope

By Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson
WebMD Feature by “The Body Scoop for Girls”

As a young girl you’re evolving rapidly into an adult—which means experiencing a new range of emotions. Learning to deal with these emotions is a vital skill that you’ll use for the rest of your life. You learn coping strategies from family and friends and also by trial and error. Here are some strategies that my patients use to cope with stress—they might help you, too.

  • Writing in a journal: Studies show that people who write about their deep emotions and about stressful events have better health than those who don’t.
  • Exercising: One study at Duke University found that walking or jogging for thirty minutes three times a week helped reduce depression as much as taking medication.
  • Listening to music: Studies show listening to relaxing music can reduce stress for surgery patients, pregnant moms, and other groups. It may help you, too.
  • Talking with friends or family: Don’t bottle up your feelings. Talking about your problems may make you feel much better. But if it doesn’t make you feel better, don’t push it or dwell on things at length. One study found that girls who spent an excessive amount of time talking about their problems with friends actually felt worse.
  • Healthy eating: Some foods, vitamins, and good eating habits may boost your mood.

If you’ve tried all your usual tricks and you’re still not feeling better, you may have a mood disorder.

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