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Daily Words of Wisdom

So stressed you could scream? This simple strategy can take you from panic to peace in a single phrase.

Don't worry about the mule going blind; just keep the wagon loaded.

—Mary Ann Lowry, 55, Thousand Oaks, CA; life coach

"I love this little mantra that my father learned from his father, who grew up on a farm in Texas. The basic message is, 'Put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward.' The saying always makes me smile even in the worst of times. I used it just yesterday: On the way to meet friends for breakfast, I got a ticket. I started getting all worked up about the fine, traffic school, being late. Then I reminded myself not to worry about the mule going blind: I could let this incident ruin a beautiful day, or shift my thoughts from the future to the present, from anxious to mellow. And I did."

The kids will never remember; you'll never forget.

—Cheryl Lage, 44, Richmond, VA; freelance writer and editor

"As a mom of 7-year-old twins, when I'm anxious about my children's health or my own maternal faux pas, I'm soothed by this comment my husband made early in our parenthood; I repeat it to myself almost daily. When the twins, a girl and a boy, were 2, both had to go to the emergency room a day apart. I was a wreck, but I remembered what my husband had said, and he was right: The kids are happy and healthy and don't even recall what happened."

Support is a phone call away.

—Renée Peterson Trudeau, 43, Austin; life-balance coach

"I keep a support-system note card pinned to my office bulletin board and on my refrigerator. On it is contact information for friends, babysitters, housecleaners, doctors, handymen, and counselors. All I have to do is call! Recently, I was heading out of town and having a hard time covering child care, airport transportation, volunteer commitments, and making sure my family had some ideas for meals while I was gone. I called my wonderful neighbor and asked if she could help me brainstorm. Not only did she come up with creative solutions, but she also offered to have my family over for dinner one night! Support is always there — I just have to get comfortable asking for it."

I sing to myself — little snippets of songs that seem apropos, like "...breathe in, breathe out," from "Machinehead" by Bush.

—C.J. Lyons, Pittsburgh; pediatric ER physician

"Once I was treating a little girl with a head trauma and we were short-staffed, our CT scanner was out of order, and I needed to be in six places at once. The music in my head helped me to stay in control, reaffirming that my team and I knew what to do, and that despite any obstacles thrown in our path, we were going to help this girl. And we did!"

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