How to Stay Motivated

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you ever find yourself losing interest in something you know is good for you? Maybe you took a healthy living course and for a while you were gung ho to make changes in your life…but then the determination faded — and you found yourself going back to your old, bad health habits.

If you do…you are not alone.

The key to continuing down the path towards better health and wellness (or whatever goal you have set for yourself) is to keep a positive mindset and to not allow yourself to get discouraged–even when you experience a setback. Not sure how to maintain your motivation? Read on–this guide will give you some practical tips on how to do just that.

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Complete Relaxation Techniques

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

For many, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV or staring at the phone at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging health effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, it is necessary to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. One way to do this is by practicing effective relaxation techniques. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress, boost your energy and mood, and improve your mental and physical health. When combined with effective stress management skills, you end up with a powerful, stress-busting combo. 

This guide provides relaxation techniques that are best performed when you have 15 minutes and a comfortable environment, but which are extremely effective at countering your body’s stress response (by eliciting the “Relaxation Response”)….as a result leading to calming effects that can linger for days. 

Don’t have 15 minutes? Then you need these quick relaxation techniques. 

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Instant Relaxation Techniques

Even when equipped with effective Stress Management skills, sometimes one just needs a break from the stresses of a busy day—in the middle of the day.

These mini-relaxation techniques are powerful stress busters that you can reach for anytime. Whether you’re preparing for an important meeting, stuck in traffic, or in the middle of an uncomfortable situation—these exercises can be a fast and effective tool to help you achieve a relaxed state so that you can confidently face the stresses of the day. So go ahead—take some time to try them all to see which ones work best for you.

Have 15 minutes to spare? Try a full relaxation session for a total de-stressing experience.

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Taking Control of Stress (part II)

In my last post, I discussed Stress Management in terms of practicing the “4 A’s.” In this post, I will be discussing the other essential components of stress management (if you missed the initial post on the effects of chronic stress on your health, I encourage you to glance at that when you get the chance).

Need immediate de-stressing? This article will show you some instant ways to relax.

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Taking Control of Stress

Now that I’ve discussed how harmful chronic stress is to your health…what can you do about it? The very necessary next step (after recognizing what is causing your stress) is to make the decision to take control of it. To decide to take control means that you are determined to start making positive, proactive changes in your life to effectively manage your stress—as opposed to allowing yourself to feel like a victim to it and merely trying to cope with it. This difference in mindset can make a significant difference—the difference between feeling like you’re keeping pace while staying ahead in a race as opposed to lagging behind trying to catch up.

So really, what does this all mean? This post will introduce the most practical way to start taking control of your stress: by practicing the “4 A’s.”

Feeling stressed out right now? Take a few seconds to do one of these quick relaxation techniques.

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Stress and Your Health

Do you often feel stressed out? Do you have things in your life that frequently cause you high levels of stress? Do you find that you have little time for self-care, or you spend most of your time caring for others? Do you just feel burned out?

If you do, you are not alone. 

In this post, I will talk about the effects of stress on your body—both short and long term (chronic) stress—and then introduce the most fundamental aspect of Stress Management: the identification of the causes of your stress and the identification of unhealthy coping mechanisms. In subsequent posts, I will discuss tried and true Stress Management techniques that have been proven to work in both lowering stress and decreasing the harmful effects of it on your health.

This post is the first in a series on Stress Management. The other articles are listed below for your convenience:

Taking Control of Stress (part I)
Taking Control of Stress (part II)
Instant Relaxation Techniques
Complete Relaxation Techniques

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Taking Control Over Salt

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you enjoy salty snacks? Or find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table?

If you do, you are not alone.

In general, people in the U.S. eat much more sodium (salt) than they should. But why is it important to watch the amount of sodium you eat? It is because the more sodium you consume, the higher your blood pressure becomes. Some conditions, such as certain heart and kidney problems, cause the body to hold onto sodium, which causes extra fluid to build up in the body. This extra fluid forces the heart to work harder. Therefore, if you live with chronic conditions, it is especially important to control the amount of sodium you eat.

So how much sodium should you be consuming in a day? While for most people it is recommended to not go over 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems, the daily limit for sodium is even lower– 1,500 mg ideally, but no more than 2,000 mg.

Pop quiz: How many milligrams of sodium are in one small teaspoon of salt?

Answer: 2,300 milligrams!

1 teaspoon of salt
=
2,300 mg of sodium

Surprised? What this means is that adding any salt to your meals can cause you to go over the recommended limit. So is it even possible to stay within this recommended limit? Yes–it is possible! And today I will discuss exactly how.

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Eating for Heart Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Your diet, as most people know, is a big component of healthy living. There’s even much truth to the idiom, “You are what you eat!” However, when it comes to living with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, having the right diet becomes even more important, as the foods you eat can make a huge difference not only in the symptoms you experience day to day, but also in the way your chronic conditions progress over time.

What this means is that with the right diet, when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, you can take control of your health by helping to slow or even reverse your chronic conditions. When it comes to heart disease, being on a heart-healthy diet can protect you against further narrowing of your heart’s blood vessels and in turn help prevent further complications such as heart attack and strokes.

In this post we will discuss what types of foods make up a heart healthy diet. In a subsequent post, we will cover the essentials of a specific component of heart healthy eating–the low salt diet.

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Cold & Flu Medicine Guide

If you have ever browsed the Cold Medicine aisle of your local drug store, you know that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. With so many products available and each containing different combinations of active ingredients, how do you know which one is right for you? Perhaps you mainly have a stuffed-up nose and cough and would like to select the most appropriate product so you don’t end up taking unnecessary medications. Which one should you choose?

If you have ever wondered this, this fundamental guide to cold medications is for you. Read on, and shop like a pro the next time you need one.

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