Cheryl Ladd: What My Mom’s RA Taught Me

Actress Cheryl Ladd opens up about her mother’s rheumatoid arthritis and the life lessons she’s learned along the way.

Linda Childers
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Live life where it counts
In the present moment. "My mom has always tried to concentrate on the positives in her life rather than spend time and energy dwelling on the negatives," Cheryl says. "She enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, and loves playing Scrabble and watching old movies."

Likewise, Cheryl, who’s been married for 30 years to music producer Bryan Russell, finds joy in her acting career and playing soccer with her two grandsons, ages 5 and 3. And her love of golf led to writing a book (Token Chick: A Woman’s Guide to Golfing with the Boys) and cohosting celebrity golf tournaments to benefit Childhelp, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse.

Why it’s a good idea: A study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that people with RA who received training in mindfulness meditation—including accepting their feelings without dwelling on them—experienced less depression and had better coping skills than those who received no training. And taking the focus off yourself by volunteering for a favorite cause can spur your body to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin—what researchers call the "helper's high."

June 2012