Feeling stressed-out? One mom's story plus 9 expert tips to help you

Tri-State mom of 8 tells how she fights stress

EDGEWOOD, Ky. - Jenny Bent works as a hairstylist at Salon Serenity in Edgewood, Ky. -- a tough job that she considers the easy part of her day.

Bent has eight children. By 8 a.m. in the morning, she's already sent the older kids off to school. Then, while doing two loads of laundry, she feeds the younger ones before heading to work.

It takes organization, and a sense of humor.

"You know, I went to confession once and I was saying, 'Oh my God, they're driving me crazy!' And he says, 'Well, try to be like Mary', and I said, 'Mary only had one!'" Bent said of her busy life.

But some things just aren't funny. The subject of money brings Bent to tears.

The Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine offers classes that teach people how to quiet their minds when stress gets overwhelming.

Doctors Steve and Sandi Amoils teach their patients a variety of techniques and treatments to deal with stress. They say if you don't control stress, it can make you sick.

"The things that cause a lot of stress are things that are novel, that you've never been exposed to, that are unpredictable, a threat to your survival," Dr. Sandi Amoils said.

And that's what happened to Bent and her husband. They lost their house due to foreclosure when she was pregnant with their seventh child.

Through the stress, Bent said she had her own way of coping.

"I would scream the rosary," she said. "I would scream the rosary as if I was yelling at somebody and then it got easier to pray the rosary."

That was four years ago. Money worries remain, but prayer still helps calm her mind.

Bent even prays for her clients.

The Amoils say a sense of community helps to protect against stress, and Bent has that at the salon, in her church community and in her family.

While prayer works for Bent,  it's not the only answer. Here are some tips from "Get Well & Stay Well," by Steve Amoils, MD and Sandi Amoils, MD, co-directors of the Alliance for Integrative Medicine.

Transforming Stress into Success

1. Simplify your life, which means learning how to say no.

2. Reduce the use of stimulants, such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.

3. Use social connections,develop a sense of community. Join a support group, talk with a friend.

4. Take time every day just for yourself. Consider meditating or journaling.

5. Be clear with other people about what you want and need.

6. Laugh!

7. Exercise in a way that works for you.

8. Accept what life throws at you. Some things you just can't change.

9. Try to find meaning in your life

For more information: www.GetWell-StayWell.org.

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