Updated 14:03 PM PHT Thu, March 2, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — What causes the most stress for Filipinos?
To get an idea, we asked CNN Philippines readers through an open online poll.
From over 200 respondents, around 23 percent cited their job or studies as their main source of stress.
A large share of the 23 percent said they experience stress because of their bosses or supervisors. One male reader answered “poor management at work.” Others blamed it on job demands such as “deadlines” and “being behind schedule,” while some attributed it to their co-workers.
Meanwhile, almost 15 percent said being stuck in traffic dealt them a great amount of stress.
“The horrific traffic, the floods, the never ending all year round road repairs,” pointed out one reader. Another person ranted about disobedient motorists or “people who do not follow rules.”
Some 14.5 percent of the respondents said money — financial uncertainty, lack of budget, credit card and utility bills — made them stressful.
The other reasons that cause stress for Filipinos are: personal relationships (12.46 percent), life changes — such as pregnancy or a death of a loved one (4.15 percent), health reasons (2.67 percent) and social media (1.19 percent).
According to Dr. Ronaldo Elepaño, a psychiatrist of The Medical City, the cause of stress varies for each individual.
“The feeling of being stressed is different from person to person. The trick is identifying what’s stressful to you,” Elepaño said in an episode of CNN Philippines' MedTalk.
“Some people are enjoying work more than others, others don’t like work. There are identified types of work that can be more stressful than others, especially those that are put in the line of fire like in the military or a fire fighter.”
Elepaño said, however, that most of the time the reason behind work stress is the job itself or the relationships that go along with it.
Can we get rid of stress? The answer is we cannot.
“Stress is a vital part of one’s life. If you are living a life without stress, you need to strike a balance,” said the doctor. “No stress means no performance.”
But there are ways or activities that one can do to manage their stress.
“There are a million ways to manage stress, but pick one that appeals to you,” said Elepaño. “The most basic is deep breathing… it’s something you can do and you don’t have to spend much time for. It’s a precursor for stress management techniques.”
Another helpful method is to practice mindfulness.
“(You should) be more aware of your thoughts and feelings,” said Elepaño. “Focus on the here and now. If you distract yourself with so many thoughts, you actually create more stress in your head.”
People who believe their job causes them the most stress should change the way they approach work, Elepaño advised.
“When you come in to the office thinking it’s going to be very stressful, then you actually encourage the stress to creep in and pile up in your psyche,” said Elepaño. “The idea is to look at the work environment as something different.”
More importantly, taking some time off work will immensely help reduce one’s stress levels.
“People don’t really see the value of taking vacations until they’re pushed to the wall, until they start feeling something,” Elepaño added. “They really need to have ‘me time’ to somewhat recover from the stressful environment they’re in.”