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Mental Health Center

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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.

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!"

 How badly do I want what's on the other side of this brick wall I just hit?

—Betsy Hiebert, 46, Winnipeg, Manitoba; small-business owner

"When I've tried and tried to reach what appears to be an unattainable goal, I ask myself what's preventing me from achieving it. What's my brick wall, and how can I get over, under, or around it? What do I need to do that fits within my moral and ethical framework that can help me achieve the desired outcome?"

What is the absolute most important thing I should spend my precious time doing today?

—Peggy Duncan, 57, Atlanta; personal-productivity expert

I ask myself that question; then I write my answer, hold it in front of me, and say, 'Start on that, finish it, then move on.' Yesterday, I wanted to work on my new blog. That's fun for me. But I knew I needed to get caught up on a task I was dreading — three months' worth of bank reconciliation. I knew it would only take a few minutes to get it done, but still I procrastinated. Then I asked my question, answered it, shut down the blog, and finished the despised bookkeeping. That gave me the time for what I really love."

If everything is important, then nothing is.

—Kelly Stettner, 39, Springfield, VT; nonprofit director

"The saying keeps me on an even keel and helps me prioritize the plates that are spinning above my head, so I know which ones I can drop and pick up again later."

Originally published on July 1, 2009

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