13. I worry about my bones deteriorating, my body breaking down, needing hip replacement, knee and rotator cuff surgery… Should I become less active in middle age?
If you're in your 40s, pick exercise that's gentler on your joints. For example, you can still run, but do it on the elliptical machine, which has no impact. Or swim, or do yoga.
The best way to maintain bone strength is to do weight-bearing exercises, either with weights or by using your body as the weight, which you do in yoga. Diet also matters. You want less alcohol and carbonated colas (which may interfere with the balance of calcium) and more vitamin D in your system. Exposure to sunlight converts cholesterol in the body into vitamin D, which in turn enables calcium to be deposited in your bones, so try to get 15 minutes of direct sun exposure at least two times a week. If that's not practical, take supplements that contain vitamin D and calcium. Start getting annual bone density screenings at 65; if there's a strong history of osteoporosis in your family, consult with your doctor.
I wouldn't stop doing fun sports for fear of breaking something. Yes, bad stuff happens, but as long as you're taking good care of your body, it's a remarkably versatile machine. — Mehmet Oz, MD
14. I worry that if my husband and I get divorced, he'll find a hundred women who want to replace me, whereas I will never find anyone. No, we're not splitting up…I'm just being pessimistic.
If there's no real basis for your concern, there might be some low self-esteem issues you should divert your attention to. Or you may be an "imaginative worrier," someone who invents different possible futures. When negative events are unlikely but possible, some choose to focus on the possibility, while others don't give it a second thought. Being aware of this classification and shifting these scenarios from "possible" to "highly unlikely" is a useful strategy for combating this kind of worry. — Gillian Butler, PHD, and Tony Hope, MD
(Butler and Hope are coauthors of Managing Your Mind [Oxford].)
15. It feels as if I'm always shortchanging either my family or my job. Is it possible to balance them?
It's not a matter of balance; it's a matter of attitude. All you have to do is follow a simple formula: Wherever you are physically present, be mentally present. When you walk out your front door in the morning, leave the kids' grades, your bills, your grocery list at home, and turn your thoughts toward your job. When you get there, bring 100 percent of your attention to your workplace. You will be more efficient for being completely focused on the tasks at hand.
When you get home, bring all your attention to whoever or whatever is before you. Listen to your kids; don't think about work. Do the same when you converse with your partner. Your relationships will be richer for it. — Paul Wilson
(Wilson is a meditation teacher and the author of Perfect Balance [Tarcher/Penguin].)
We Hear You!