Article by Christian Chagas / Photos by Vivien del Valle / Graphics by Joselle Fajardo
Healthy Options recently conducted a talk in EDSA Shangri-La Hotel tackling what a lot of us constantly experience: stress.
Meet Dr. Doni Wilson, a naturopathic doctor, professional midwife, clinical nutritionist, author, researcher, and natural products formulator. She is affiliated with organizations such as the American Association Naturopathic Physicians, Connecticut Naturopathic Physicians Association, and the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine.
Granted, Dr. Wilson knows what stress is beyond the sensation itself; but she also knows all about the chemistry behind stress and psychosocial interest.
In the talk itself, we were posed with a question that served as the premise of the event, “How can we stay healthy with stress?” According to Dr. Wilson, we need the right amount of stress in order to thrive in our day-to-day lives. It has a lot to do with the phenomenon of the cortisol curve; the chemical cortisol, depending on its levels, affects hormones of the thyroid, ovaries and testosterone. Moreover, cortisol shifts our immune system and the more our immune system shifts, the more we are likely to get sick.
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The actual question is, though, is: how are we able to provide our bodies the right amount of stress to be internally and externally healthy?
3 Ways to Stay Healthy… Even with Stress in Your Life!
3. Remove ALL kinds of stress.
Did you know that food can also be considered as stress? The food that we ingest, depending on its nutritional contents, can trigger stress towards our internal organs. When we feel stress, it is felt internally. We should be able to identify the stress we have in our lives, such as (a) Major Stress – i.e. accidents, trauma, and such; (b) Normal Stress – daily stress that most people experience like at work and in relationships; and (c) Hidden Stress – the stress we cannot identify upfront, but is peripheral: air pollution, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and infections.
WHAT TO DO: eat nutritious foods and incorporate herbs to help eliminate toxins
2. Restore and rebalance.
Cortisol, the chemical vital to the role of stress in our bodies, is also responsible for oxidative stress (which is the stress in our little cells). Before going to bed, it is best to decrease your cortisol levels: meditate, take deep breaths, and turn off the lights to signal your body and tell it that it is “time to destress”.
WHAT TO DO: Calm your cortisol levels.
1. Build resilience.
Some helpful measures that can alleviate and balance out the stress in our bodies include: (1) taking small breaks, (2) bringing food with you, (3) relaxing your brain, and (4) practicing self-care.
Take small breaks to calm your mind. When everything else is in distraught, make sure you appease your mind first. Bring the right kinds of food to lessen the hidden stress in your body. As mental athletes in our own respective fields, we sometimes forget that being full-force can take a toll on our brains.
Last but not least, you have to remove the belief that self-care is a luxury. It is not. Self-care is a necessity that is manifested through simple acts, such as by getting a massage or any type of leisure that can make you feel relaxed.
Whether we find our major stressors in the workplace, in school, outside, or at home, what helped in gathering the small insights from The Stress Remedy talk is how awareness of our own stress can help us balance it out and in turn thrive in our respective fields. We always need to take care of ourselves in order to be the best version of ourselves. All thanks to our buddies at Healthy Options for making the event possible. May we become more vigilant when it comes to stress from here on out!