Five advices for combating stress

gradient-1336854_1280

Stress can harm our physical and mental health: it may have a negative impact on our mood, cause insomnia and the development of several chronical diseases. However, avoiding stress is not an easy task.” Nowadays, the job market is extremely demanding, we face an overwhelming amount of information, and there is a huge number of technological innovations and devices distracting us continuously. The world is more and more challenging, and to live in a calm and relaxed manner seems unattainable.

However, being able to achieve peace of mind, controlling negative thoughts is crucial for a healthy mind and body. We describe bellow five techniques recommended by Harvard Health Publishing to prevent anxiety in order to live healthier:

head-33150_1280

Advice 1: Give a good laugh

The first advice is to stay positive and laugh: these behaviours lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter stimulates circulation and many organs, aids muscle relaxation, and activates and relieves our stress response. It also improves our mood and our immune system and relieves pain while increasing personal satisfaction, which in turn helps to reduce depression and anxiety.

meditation-32123_1280

Advice 2: Meditate

Many authors have said how important meditation is for releasing stress and managing fears and negative thoughts. And the best part is that meditation is actually free! One may meditate anytime and anywhere, improving mental and emotional health. It also boosts concentration and improves our mood. Recently, many have discovered the benefits of mindfulness, a practice that helps release anxiety and depression, and entails a number of modalities, such as mindful eatinga technique that allows us to absorb all the sounds around and various tastes of the food while eating.

yoga-23879_1280

Advice 3: Practice exercise

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins”. Regular exercise is considered a natural anti-depressive, and may help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing feel-good endorphins, a natural cannabis-like brain chemical (endogenous cannabinoids), as well as other natural brain substances that can enhance our sense of wellbeing. On the other hand, when we exercise, we also take our mind off worries, escaping the cycle of negative thoughts, improving our good mood, our memory and our thinking skills. Exercise is key to achieving a happy and focused brain.

hand-32435_1280

Advice 4: Unplug

We spend our day fully connected with various technological devices such as a computer, tablet, smartphone and television. We inexorably check arriving emails, text messages, or social media posts. At the same time, we are inescapably distracted by commercials on TV or any other media. In order to avoid stress, we need to unplug for a reasonable time, saving some moments just for us, and escaping devices that can generate stress in our minds.

headphones-42543_1280

Advice 5: Escape stress

As Harvard Health Publishing recommends, we should find ways to take the edge off our stress. Very simple things can give us much needed break from stressors in our life, such as a warm bath, listening to music, or spending time on a favourite hobby. Find a way that allows you to release stress and use it to alleviate anxiety.

 

Sources:

 

medicalport-banner-01

Click here

 

Longevity: the impact of stress and social relations

Longevity is determined by factors endogenous as well as exogenous to the individual, such as stress and social relationships. Stress may develop into serious illnesses and make us have unhealthy habits. Social relationships affect our lifestyles and the ageing process. In which other ways can stress and social relations interfere with longevity?

woman-2880999_1920

The ageing process influenced by stress

Scientific evidence shows that stress affects the ageing process. As Harvard Health Publishing explains, short-term stress response can help us deal with difficult situations. However, chronic stress can lead to physical damage, increasing blood sugar and worse diabetes. It also may promote high pressure and cause insomnia.

Plus, long-term stress can make us feel anxious, worried, depressed, and frustrated. It also can increase the risk of heart disease and heartburn, contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, among other health problems.

Because of the many impacts of stress, we should learn how to control and avoid its worse symptoms including blood pressure, headaches, back pain, indigestion, or heart palpitations. People who suffer from frequent or chronic stress tend to have a poor concentration, be indecisive and experience emotional symptoms like crying, irritability, or edginess. Also, stress can influence our health by making us adopt unhealthy habits like eating poorly, exercising less, drinking more, and even relying on medication.

Job stress decreasing our health

Job stress is a factor also known for disproportionately affecting the ageing process. Individuals with that endure high job stress levels have the shortest telomeres, which have a crucial role in the decay of human cells. Telomere shortening has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

On the other hand, job stress may cause job burnout too, which in turn may entail, according to Mayo Clinic, fatigue, insomnia, sadness, anger, irritability, alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and vulnerability to illnesses.

Longevity and social relations

Apart from stress, there are other determinants of longevity. One of the most important tools to a longer ageing are social relationships, including social networks, social support and social participation.

Maintaining smaller social networks, and contacting them less frequently can impair longevity. Conversely, according to Harvard Health Publishing, those who enjoy closer links with family and friends are more likely to live longer than people who are isolated and lonely. In an attempt to better understand how much social relationships affect longevity, researchers mentioned by the magazine conducted a meta-analysis showing that people who have regular contact with friends, family, and neighbors have a survival advantage comparable in magnitude with quitting smoking habits and about twice as large as exercising regularly or maintaining a normal weight.

In short, Harvard research suggests that meaningful relationships are a prescription for better emotional, mental, and physical health. Good relationships appear to protect our brains when in our 80s, sharpening memory for a longer time.

 

medicalport-banner-01

Click here

The effects of Stress

There are numerous ways stress affects our lives. Stress can prevent us to sleep and rest but it can also be the trigger for more serious diseases. Stress has become a part of our daily lives and sometimes its effects go unnoticed until they become serious.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is defined as “(…) the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term and may include things like commuting to and from school or work every day, traveling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home.

Everyone can suffer from stress and that isn’t always a bad thing. The same institute also states that by triggering body’s responses, stress can be good for the immune system. “When you face a dangerous situation, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity—all functions aimed at survival. In the short term, it can even boost the immune system.The problem rises when stress is continuous, and the body is constantly producing these responses causing the body’s vital system to be always on alert and ready to protect it.

Hair loss is one of the most common stress effects in the body.

Although it is hard to link both, researchers found that continuous stress lowers our immune system, the body produces an autoimmune response that causes hair follicles to fall.

Acne is another major stress effect that usually gives a warning sign to those affected.

When pimples start to breakout after the teenage years they are usually linked to stress.

Heart attack and stroke are some of the most serious effects stress can do to people.

When people can’t disconnect from what is causing them stress, whether is a work, family or other situation the help of medical professionals is key to relieve the stress and help them to face things in a different perspective. There are effective techniques to control stress and to minimize its impact in our lives and our health. With the help of a psychologist stress can be lowered and controlled so that individuals can make better decisions and have a better life quality. Mindfulness is one of the most powerful techniques that can help control stress and boost better decision-making. If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and how it can help relieve stress read this blog post and visit our website for more information.

 

medicalport-banner-01

Click here

5 health benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation refers to the ability that we have of being in the here and now, completely aware of everything we are experiencing both inside ourselves and around us. Training your mind to be aware can provide several benefits for your health and your life in general.

Here are 5 benefits from practicing mindfulness meditation:

Be more focused

Mindfulness is about here and now. Is about focusing in the present and to evaluate it looking for positive outcomes. One of the ways to start practicing mindfulness is to focus on one task at the time. Focus solely on what you are doing and how you are doing it, learn and evaluate all the steps. And achieve a greater focus on everything you do.

Reduce stress

By becoming more aware of your own thoughts and knowing how to control them, you can reduce anxiety. People often get stressed when they feel they aren’t in control of things. So, controlling your mind and direct it towards positive thoughts can help reduce stress.

Make better decisions

After a mindfulness training you will have a choice to stop reacting automatically, give yourself time to think, know how to focus your attention and to remove the negative thoughts. This will lead to better decision-making, as your mind will allow you to take a pause and choose how you react.

Sleep better

Mediation is also known for relaxation, which can lead people to get to sleep quicker and sleep better. With the current practice of mindfulness it is possible to become more aware of the surroundings and to be able to relax and fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Become physically healthier

Recent studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness can be seen at the physical health level like treating heart disease, lower blood pressure or reduce chronic pain. Aligning your mind and your body to achieve a positive outcome can be a very powerful tool.

Learn more about Mindfulness here.

Medical Port can help you start with your Mindfulness practicing with the help of trained and skilled psychologists. Learn more about our Mindfulness program here.

 

medicalport-banner-01

Click here

Health promotion in the workplace

When thinking about workers well-being companies are increasingly deciding for health prevention instead of disease management.

For many years, resources were spent in dealing with employees’ health problems, but now companies are shifting for a prevention model.

Many employers are creating health prevention programs to encourage their employees to become healthier by making healthy choices.

Prevention policies and programs are often cost-effective, reducing health care costs, and improving productivity. It is believed that “With better health, adults are more productive and at work more days” since diseases like asthma, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity can “reduce annual productivity by between $200 and $440 per person”, according to the US National Prevention Strategy.

Everyday prevention is being promoted in small actions like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a break at work, providing healthy meal options, or offering paid gym memberships. Busy lifestyles often make it difficult for people to schedule time for activities that support their well-being, both at work and out of it, leading to increased stress levels. Most people also find it hard to arrange time to do health assessments and work on health prevention. Health prevention should be a priority not only for individuals, but also for companies looking to keep their employees engaged and healthy, improving the length and quality of their lives. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work issued a report on work-related stress and its costs, finding that mental disorders caused by stress constitute 30% of early retirements in Sweden and Germany.

Medical Port developed corporate health prevention programs for companies who would like to assess their employees’ health while taking the opportunity to relax (through mindfulness programs) and team building during short trips to Portugal. The programs include individual health check-up exams and psychological evaluation and a corporate health status report, all in English. These programs are aimed at individuals with high levels of responsibility and consequently with higher work-related stress. If you would like to know more about Medical Port’s Corporate Health Prevention programs, visit our website or contact us.

 

medicalport-banner-01

Click here