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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Our dangerous need to impress ]

Our dangerous need to impress

Obsession with material goods is making us ill

“CYPRIOTS are a very materialistic race, who are always trying to compete amongst each other and this is one of the main reasons why they are the most stressed out people in the EU.” That was the verdict of sociologist Doctor Antonis Raftis, who was commenting on a Eurobarometer last week that showed one third of Cypriots suffer from stress in their personal relationships and are almost as stressed out at work.
“I always hear people comparing their houses, cars and clothes. They are out to impress as much as they can,” said Raftis.

He also said that the over-35s don’t like attending social functions and will only do so when they feel obliged, such as weddings and birthdays.

“These people concentrate more on their work, get into a routine and don’t allow themselves to relax. They feel stressed as they live for tomorrow and forget about today.”

Raftis, who is also a psychologist and nutritionist, described the Cypriot community as a small and conservative one, which tends to have very close ties with family.

“There is an over-emphasis on children and their future that is not seen in other nations. People here are obsessed with how they will educate their child and what car to buy for him or her and in the process, they forget about their own lives. Their insecurities lead to too much work, with many holding down more than one job to make ends meet. This leads to less time for personal enjoyment, which naturally causes stress.”

The Eurobarometer also showed that 40 per cent of Cypriots said they didn’t exercise and 28 per cent do not eat healthily.

“Many people simply sit around on the couch, watching TV in their spare time and are lazy,” explained the doctor.

“Both the body and mind require exercise in order to release frustrations, and there are many activities out there, such as jogging, swimming and cycling that people are ignoring. We have the perfect climate here on the island but the locals simply do not take advantage of it.”

As far as eating healthily goes, Raftis said that socialising on the island revolves around food in many cases.

“People are eating meals consisting of too much saturated fat, sugar and preservatives and this leads to obesity and health problems, which, again, automatically increases stress levels.”

Only five per cent of Cypriots said they drink too much but 29 per cent confess to being smokers.

“I’ve noticed that many attempt to relieve stress through drinking and smoking but these are obviously not stress-controlling habits. The exact opposite is in fact true. Both vices increase the levels of toxins in the body.”

Men were more likely to report that they smoked and experienced stress from work while women were more likely to report that they were overweight and did not exercise.

On the whole, however, more women abstained from unhealthy behaviour than men.
“Women are more concerned about their physical appearance than men are, therefore if they don’t lose weight, if they feel they should, they will become more stressed,” said Raftis.
“On the other hand, men have traditionally been seen as the bread-winners, with the extra responsibility leading to extra stress levels, as they believe that it’s their job to earn money as they have been raised this way.”

Asked if they thought giving up their vices or unhealthy lifestyle would help them live longer, 52 per cent of Cypriots said they thought it was true that clean living would add several years to their lives.

Ten per cent thought it might give them another year of life but 13 per cent said it would make no difference whether they changed lifestyle or not.

“Either these people are ignorant or they are trying to excuse themselves from what they cannot do,” Raftis explained.

“Deep inside, people know that healthy living and adequate relaxation will make them feel better, both in the body and in the mind.”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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