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Step 2: The Keys to Balance

No matter where you are on your emotional surfboard (even if you're off it), these mood-steadying strategies make for easier riding.

1. Mind Rx: Taking a break—imaginary or real—can help settle emotions on a bumpy day.

2. Daydream: "When you think about pleasurable things like sex or food, PET scans show different patterns lighting up in your brain than when you think about work or something unpleasant," says Mehmet Oz, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

3. Fake it: Research shows that when you put on a smile, even a forced one, your mood often follows. Hold your head high, walk confidently, pretend you're Serena Williams after winning the Grand Slam.

4. Listen to music: Put on a pair of headphones and let yourself get carried away.

5. Go to a bookstore and just browse. "Look at travel books, photography books," suggests Byllye Avery, founder of the National Black Women's Health Project. "Dip into some fiction and let your mind go there."

6. Run away: Spas are ideal, Snyderman says (when she books herself for a quick getaway, she tells her kids to "call only in an emergency—and homework doesn't count"). But you can also escape to a friend's house for the weekend, get in the car and just drive, or take a day to be a tourist in your own town.

Next: When nothing else works: Knowing when to seek help

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