Stress Management Techniques

An important component of the Dr. Dean Ornish Lifestyle Program involves opening one’s heart to one’s feelings and to inner peace through the practice of a variety of stress management and relaxation techniques:

Stretching, Meditation, Deep breathing, Progressive relaxation, and Imagery

These techniques are much more than simple strategies to help us cope with or manage stress. They are designed to increase our awareness of what is happening inside us — physically, emotionally and spiritually. Increasing our awareness extends our capacity for control over what is happening within us. As a result, we are better prepared to recognize the symptoms of stress and make changes before we develop unhealthy conditions such as heart disease.

A number of the practices described here are derived from the ancient system of yoga. They have been popularized in recent decades by medical researchers, psychologists and others who have rediscovered their benefits. Yoga is not a religion. It is a system of powerful tools for achieving union, and healing, within us, with others and with a higher force. In this sense, yoga techniques not only calm the body, but also are a means of healing the sense of isolation that can lead to stress and illness.