The amount of love and support you have in your life can make a powerful difference in not only how long you live, but how well you live. Dr. Dean Ornish discusses how essential the love and support of others is to our health and well-being. Learn more about the love and support element of the Ornish Program:

Dean Ornish: "The need for love and support is a primal, human need, and so we've made that a major focus here on the Ornish Spectrum because we know what a powerful difference it can make - not only in how long you live, but in how well you live.

Sometimes people say this is kind of a touchy-feely way of doing things, and I say, you know what, it is. This is a touchy-feely site because we're touch-feely creatures. That's what's enabled us to survive as a species.

When people first go into our programs, they say, 'Yeah, I can exercise and I can change my diet, and the stress management is probably important too, but I don't know about this love and connection part.' And yet - I can tell you, over and over again, it turns out to be the part that's the most meaningful.

Dr. David Spiegel at Stanford did a classic study where he brought together women who had metastatic breast cancer. They all got the same conventional treatments - chemo, radiation and surgery - but in addition, one of the groups met together in a supportive environment where they were encouraged to talk authentically about what they were feeling, what was really going on in their lives. They just did that for one year - they met once a week. Five years later, Dr. Spigel told me he almost fell off his chair when he looked at the data because those women actually lived twice as long as the women who didn't have the support group.

So, on the Spectrum, we encourage you to bring one or more friends with you to share your goals and progress and challenges and feelings - and any and all personal experiences and insights. Having a tribe of people, a group of friends that you can be authentic and open with and to share what's really going on in your life with. It's not only going to help them - it's going to help you as well.

Study after study has shown that people who have love and joy and compassion in their lives are many times more likely to live longer and avoid getting sick, than those who feel lonely and depressed and isolated.

It's our feelings that really connect us. So while spending your time with your friends and family and loved ones might seem like a luxury - something you do after you've done all the important stuff - it turns out that this is the most important stuff, and knowing this can inspire us to make different choices, ones that are both more healthy and more joyful, as well as more fulfilling."

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Ornish Program: Love & Support Meditations

Ornish Lifestyle Medicine PRO

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