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Christina Hendricks on Loving Your Body

Most famous as curvalicious Joan on Mad Men (and starring in two new movies), Christina Hendricks reveals her secrets for enjoying life.

How to Love Your Body continued...

Give praise where praise is due. "Appreciate the functionality of your body and all the healthy things it can do," says Pizer. By shifting the thinking from "Everything's sagging" to "This body carried a baby," or "This body is strong," you're practicing a cognitive technique called "reframing."

Be your own friend. "We always compare ourselves to others," says Pizer, "but we rarely talk as harshly to a friend as we do to ourselves." Hearing a friend's voice in your head instead of your own can stop self-scrutiny and even make you smile.

Redirect. When you're stuck in a negative thought, "ask yourself, 'Why am I looking at this body part so much when I have so many other things to do?'" Instead, make a list of what you value about yourself.

Take a step back. "Do things that remind you that appearance is the least important part of being a good or valued person," says Pizer. "Nurture your friendships, do community service --anything that makes you feel good about yourself."

Christina Hendricks at Home

For Hendricks, a happy and healthy life means a solid home base with her family and close friends. "When my husband and I aren't working, we are always together," Hendricks says. "He's my best friend."

More complicated to schedule but just as crucial to her happiness is time with her female friends. "I couldn't do anything without my girlfriends," she says. "They're the best things in my life. We're all so busy, so we have to remind ourselves how important those relationships are, but we always get in touch with each other and make time to get together and catch up."

One place you won't find Hendricks is out at Hollywood's hot spots. "When I'm not working or having to go to events, I'm at home," she says with a laugh. There, she curls up with a book or a ball of yarn. "For me, knitting is meditative."

Until recently, when her schedule became too unpredictable, Hendricks also treasured weekly accordion lessons, which she began in her early 30s. "I do have to say that I have ignored it over the last year and a half, and I'm ashamed of that," she says. "It's hard to find time to take a lesson every week. But it's something I love, and music is incredibly important to me. If you practice an instrument, suddenly it's four hours later and you are completely de-stressed. I want to get back to that."

Music and the Mind

The effects of learning music may have greater health benefits than simply easing tension. A recent study conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center showed that adults aged 60 to 83 who had played a musical instrument for at least 10 years performed better on memory and brain function tests than those who had not. Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, PhD, author of the study and now assistant professor of neurology at Emory University, suggests that studying music creates alternate connections in the brain that help compensate for diminishing functions as we age.

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