Why the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine® Program Includes Stress Management


woman relaxing with headphones onWhether or not you have a medical or family history of heart disease, making heart-healthy lifestyle choices is an important step for anyone looking to boost their overall health and wellness. This is especially crucial for those recovering from a cardiac event or who are at a greater risk for developing heart disease.

One innovative program that helps men and women to make healthy choices that can greatly impact their heart health is the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine® Program. The Ornish program focuses not only on diet and exercise, but also incorporates stress management is one of its key aspects.

What Is the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program?

The Ornish program centers around what’s known as lifestyle medicine, in which participants are taught and encouraged to adopt specific lifestyle habits to lead fitter, healthier lives. There are four main areas that the Ornish Program uses to help lower your risk of heart disease: diet, exercise habits, building a support system and stress management.

Although many people often associate diet and exercise with heart-healthy habits, they often overlook the importance of stress management.

Reducing chronic stress is one of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease and increase your physical and mental health.

How Stress Management Lowers Heart Disease Risk

While small bouts of temporary stress are normal parts of life, many of us are, perhaps unknowingly, living in a constant state of chronic stress. This can increase blood pressure and heart rate, cause heart arrhythmias, interfere with immune system function and even contribute to anxiety and depression.

As a result, taking steps to manage your stress in productive ways can have a significant impact on not only your heart disease risk, but also nearly every aspect of your mental and physical health.


Ornish Lifestyle Medicine is a trademark and Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease is a registered trademark of Dean Ornish and Anne Ornish, Trustees of the Anne and Dean Ornish Revocable Trust.