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Women's Health

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Amy Brenneman's Healthy Balancing Act

The 'Private Practice' star reveals how she takes care of family, career -- and, most importantly, herself.

Amy Brennerman's Ulcerative Colitis continued...

The unexpected bonus: "I don't drive myself so hard now," she explains, even if "I do drive people around me crazy at times. I schedule things a week or two out front. Then, as I get closer to the day -- and if it's not putting people out -- if I don't feel like it, I won't go.

"I try to stay in touch with my intuition as to how my day should go…there are lots of things we don't have control over. But I don't shame myself over it ... I try to have compassion for myself."

Brennerman: No Tiger Mom

She applies this newfound philosophy to parenting, too. If her son isn't up for T-ball practice, for instance, Brenneman won't force him to go.

"I was talking with other moms," she says of his practices, "who were saying, 'It's important for him to follow through on a commitment.' And I'm thinking, ‘Gosh, he's 5.' So I told him: ‘I don't really care if you do T-ball. It doesn't matter at all.'"

When it comes to the "tiger mom" approach of pushing and over-scheduling children, Brenneman says, "I'm just not into it. I told Bodhi, ‘There are certain things we have to do. We have to go to school. We have to be kind to one another. What we're not going to do is make you go [to practice]. So, you take a minute to decide.' And he did. Then he went and really enjoyed it. I took the heat off around it -- and decided to do that in my own life."

As a career actress now closer to 50 than 40 who didn't land in Hollywood until her mid-20s, Brenneman takes a remarkably measured approach to aging.

"I have the greatest husband in the world. I'm not out there dating. And my husband takes a really dim view of men and women ... who've had too much work done. He makes me feel beautiful."

Brenneman laughs again, something she does easily and often. With her life in balance, her health better than it's been in years, and yet another hit series on her hands, what doesn't she have to smile about?

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