Two women chat outdoors over a meal.

Connecting to Your Community

Being part of something — whether it’s a family, neighborhood, church group or sports team — is just as important to your heart health as what you eat and how much you exercise.

After nearly four decades of research, Dean Ornish, M.D., developed the Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease ™, which focuses on reversing heart disease by making changes to four main aspects of life: what you eat, how you move, how you handle stress, and love and support. In the integrative lifestyle program — which is available from Texas Health Resources — participants learn how to reverse heart disease, lower chances of surgery and improve overall quality of life during a series of proven elements.

If you’re trying to reduce your risk of heart disease, you’re probably familiar with the program’s emphasis on having a healthier diet and getting more exercise. However, you might be surprised to learn about the impact love and support can have on your overall health.

Love and Support

According to the Ornish program, loneliness and isolation have a greater impact on our lives than do diet, exercise, family history or surgery. Being aware of your own needs and those of others allows us to not only seek out love, acceptance and attention, but also allows you to care for others and nurture relationships. As a result, you’re able to make better choices about the quality of life you live — and that can have a prolific effect on your quantity of life.

As part of the Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease ™, participants are taught about several different characteristics that influence love and intimacy, and the group works to understand how these characteristics — which include things such as time spent with friends and family, compassion, meditation, commitment, touching and communication skills — bring health, joy and meaning to your life.

Learning the Right Ways to Love

To learn the techniques necessary to get the most value from love and support, participants in the Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease™ meet in a group setting, where they connect with one another. By taking these steps, you’ll learn good communication skills, how to identify and express your feelings, and to listen to and acknowledge the feelings of others.

As you learn about the importance of love and support, you’ll learn to communicate to get the love and support you need while actively making a difference in the lives of others.

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital offers both the Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease ™ and a traditional cardiac rehab program that last 12 weeks. Both programs are covered by Medicare and many insurance companies.

For more information about the Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, patients can talk to their physicians or call 817-960-6475.

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