Taking Charge of your Health

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a Q and A with Leading Psychologist , Dr Leslie Reisner

Like Rage Against the Machine sang "Take The Power Back" Psychologist, Dr. Leslie Reisner tells us HOW -- when it comes to our OWN health.

How can women take control of their health?

Well, first of all, you have to respect yourself and that means respecting your body by proactively taking care of it - listen to your body. If you're tired, than that means you might need more sleep. If something new pops up, don't wait till it gets worse, address it right away. It also means visiting the doctor regularly to make sure everything is ok. Everyone needs to go for yearly physicals and mammograms. Did you know less than 59% of all women get yearly physicals? Beyond that, you can empower yourself by taking advantage of tools that are out there to help you stay healthy, such as home screening tests to help you manage your health -- you can take your own blood pressure, or measure ph to test for vaginal infections.

How much does the right attitude affect what's happening physically?

Your perspective on it greatly affects the result and the actions you take to find a solution. The first step is to recognize that whatever is wrong - or that you don't like about yourself - doesn't define you. Especially when it comes to health. It's important not to feel intimidated to talk your doctor about your body and what's going on with it. For example, a survey by vagisil found that more than 70% of women experience vaginal discomfort, and more than half are too embarrrassed to discuss it with their own doctors! It's crucial to be comfortable with your body...to be able to talk openly with your doctor about what's happening so you can address what's going on - this will make you feel better physically, which will ulimately make you feel better emotionally and get through your day.

How do we overcome feelings of embarrassment or shame when it comes to how we feel?

The first thing to do is to focus on the end goal - feeling better. Move beyond what is wrong and think about what you need to do to get better. Give yourself credit for making a posistive change, it normalizes the process and makes it easier for the next time. And then make a list...knowledge is power. Go to your doctor prepared. Be honest and list everything that is happening so you can find the right solution. And ask any lingering questions. You'll walk out empowered because you'll leave with the right treatment and good information.

Beyond managing physical health, how can women stay confident and empowered in their lives?

Realize that you have control of how you feel. It's never too late to take action. Small changes add up and make a big difference. And emotional well being is tied physical well being. When you feel better about yourself, you're more likely to forgive the small imperfections and focus on the big picture and your overall health. Think of taking care of yourself as more than just addressing problems. It's also about paying attention to yourself and giving yourself what you need to feel your best all the time. You definitely deserve it.

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