Family physician teaches ways to alleviate stress

ARCADIA, Calif. (KABC) -- Family medicine physician Jay Iinuma noticed a pattern among some of his patients' complaints of fatigue, pain and illness: They all seemed to be coming from stress.

"We are so busy doing things that essentially we become human 'doings' instead of human beings," he said.

Iinuma, who practices at Methodist Hospital of Southern California, believes much of that stress comes from insecurities, and understanding that is crucial.

"We all have these base insecurities. And insecurity is a lack of confidence. So, the question is how do you become more confident? Well, you have to stop and learn," said Iinuma.

Teaching that has become part of his practice. At a senior center, he tells his audience the first lesson is that the relationship you have with yourself is most important.

Amelia Gonzales said hearing that is kind of like an awakening. "Oh my goodness," she said. "I have to know myself before I know anybody else."

Iinuma added, "You're going through life with someone you really don't know and what's worse -- it's become someone you know and don't like."
But it's never too late to change. He said good ways to get to know yourself include journaling, yoga and meditation. When you write in your journal, he suggests starting by asking yourself certain questions.

"Ask, 'Why did that make me sad? Why did that make me mad, or why did that make me happy?' And then tap into you and the buttons that are there," he said.

Understanding anger is another important part of reducing stress. Iinuma says anger comes mostly out of fear and it is usually self-generated.

"If you understand where it comes from, you can forgive yourself," said Iinuma.

Studies show stress can have negative impact on many aspects of our health. And there is a very direct connection between stress and high blood pressure.

Margie Corona, who is retired, still finds that she gets stressed out. But she offers this strategy: Take a mental vacation.

"When I feel my blood pressure going up, I think of the ocean," she said.

Corona said these kinds of visualizations give her a sense of more control and confidence.
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