Keep stress at bay for better health – MediCard

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Experiencing occasional bouts of stress is normal, but too much stress can badly affect the body and cause serious health problems, health clinic network MediCard said.

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“Experiencing stress is normal. Sometimes, it may even help you perform under pressure and incite you to react to dangerous situations. However, increased levels of stress can lead to numerous health consequences like heart disease and depression, which is why it’s important to know how to manage it properly,” MediCard President Dr. Nicky Montoya said.

Montoya suggested a number of ways to deal with stress:

Identify stress triggers. “It is essential that you identify the sources of your stress so you can begin to treat it effectively. By recognizing the problems, habits and behavior that cause stress, it will be easier for you to handle them, thus lowering your level of stress,” she said.

Eat a balanced diet. “Oftentimes, when people experience stress, they tend to immediately find comfort in eating sugary and fatty food like chips and sweets. However, consuming these will just make you lethargic, which may make you less motivated to deal with stress. On the other hand, low-fat, high-fiber and low-glycemic index food and plenty of fruits and vegetables help reduce stress as these types of food increase the body hormones that naturally fight it,” Dr. Montoya explained.

Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Sleeping is another stress buster because it allows the body to recharge and recover from the day’s stressful events. Dr. Montoya recommended that it is best to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily.

Exercise. “To combat stress, you need to work out consistently. Exercise not only keeps stressors at bay, but also improves your mood and increases your endorphins, which may help relieve pain and trigger a positive disposition. In addition to going to the gym, you can try dancing, jogging or taking a short walk near your home or office,” she said.

Get a massage. A massage not only relaxes the body, but it may also shift your thoughts away from the things that cause stress. According to research, a massage can help release endorphins, lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as relax tight and painful muscles, Dr. Montoya added.

Communicate with someone. “One of the best ways to handle stress is talking the situation through with someone. Opening up about your stress to a friend or loved one—even for a minute—can significantly improve your mood,” she said.

Take deep breaths. Relaxing and taking deep breaths have been proven to effectively fight off stress. Dr. Montoya suggests taking 15 minutes every day to sit and practice relaxation techniques, deep breathing or yoga.

Surya Fitness & Yoga, located at MediCard Lifestyle Center in Makati City, offers a revitalizing retreat for people seeking relaxation of the body, mind and spirit. They provide hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga and basic yoga classes.

MediCard also has 14 free-standing clinics located in key cities nationwide that offer consultations. Visit a MediCard clinic near you or check out their website at www.medicardphils.com for more information.

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