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Stressed Out? Kick that Habit Today!
According to Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, “Chronic emotional stress can make things worse in so many ways. It can worsen blood pressure, it can worsen the blockages in your arteries, and it can precipitate irregular heart rhythms—and that’s just the effect on your heart!”
Reducing stress is an important way to improve overall health, and it’s easy to find help.
Beebe Healthcare is the only provider of the Ornish program in Delaware. The program teaches participants about the four pillars of good heart health: nutrition, exercise, group support, and stress management.
“When it comes to managing stress, we teach our groups how to quiet their mind through meditation and yoga,” says Colleen Hruska, stress management specialist for Beebe’s Ornish program. “Participants often tell us that things that used to make them explode don’t bother them as much anymore. They have learned ways to quiet the stress that can harm our bodies.”
Typically, Ornish participants have either had a heart attack or a heart episode. The nine-week Ornish program at the Rehoboth Beach Health Campus meets twice a week for four-hour sessions. Most sessions include Beebe Cardiac Rehab for an hour, lunch-and-learns with various seminar topics, group support, and yoga and meditation.
“The entire program teaches participants how to live again,” said Tracy Tarr, RN, BSN, with Ornish. “Participants often come in very apprehensive about the program but also worried they could have another heart episode. By the second week, they are excited and chatting with each other about different recipes and ways the program is helping them enjoy their lives again.”
When it comes to #healthgoals, nixing the stress might be your first step to living a healthier life.
Stopping the Stress
The Ornish program focuses on five powerful stress management techniques that allow you to consciously lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and promote healing.
- POSTURES. Slow, stretching postures, like those taught in yoga, help you listen to your body and understand where your pain points are.
- BREATHING. Deep breathing is an excellent way to slow your mind. When you feel your body tensing up from stress, take slow, deep breaths.
- DEEP RELAXATION. While awake, practice being still and consciously “letting go” of all the stress in your body.
- MEDITATION. Focusing the mind on a thought, word, or image can bring clarity and focus.
- IMAGERY. While worrying can have a negative effect, focusing on positive imagery can improve wellbeing.
Try out some of these techniques and notice the effect the lowered stress has on your body.
To find out if Ornish Lifestyle Medicine is right for you, visit www.beebehealthcare.org/ornish.
If you have questions or are looking for a provider, the Nurse Navigator can help. Contact her here.
This article originally appeared in the Beacon magazine. Read more from the issue here.