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New technique helps reduce workplace stress

July 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Numerous studies have confirmed the connection between chronic stress and heart attacks. Many doctors know this, but few have the tools to teach their patients how to cope with stress. The medical director of preventative cardiology at Marina del Rey Hospital has developed an instant stress relief technique.Being a nurse is all about juggling ten things well all at once.

"I'm trying to coordinate my patients, appease the doctors and appease the people I work with," said Kathy Barret.

Barret is also a wife and mother with a lot on her plate. She says she feels the stress breaking down her heart health even though she exercises and eats well.

"Probably stress will kill you before anything else," said Barret.

So we conducted an impromptu stress relief experiment. Right now, Barret's blood pressure is 132 over 78.

Then she sat down to do the BREATHE technique. A fifteen minute computer program cardiologist John M. Kennedy created to help ease the stress of his nurses and patients. It combines deep breathing with guided imagery.

"Both have been proven to lower blood pressure, heart rate and decrease inflammation," said Dr. Kennedy.

Experts believe job stress can cause physiological changes. A new study out of Denmark on nurses finds chronic workplace stress can significantly increase cardiovascular disease.

"There's this direct toxic effect of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which increase our heart rate and increase our blood pressure," said Dr. Kennedy.

And when folks are stressed out they tend eat poorly and not exercise.

Dr. Kennedy believes confronting stress first is the key to reversing and preventing heart disease.

After 15 minutes on the Breathe technique, Kathy's blood pressure dropped from 132 over 78 to 116 over 68. She's a firm believer.

"If it doesn't save my life at least it will cut down on my stress and lead a happier and healthier life," said Barret.

Dr. Kennedy says the moment you feel stress, use this technique and soon your brain will be trained to instantly reduce stress just like professional athletes do in the heat of the moment. Companies purchase Dr. Kennedy's online program to improve wellness in their employees.


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