STUDIO CITY (CBS) — As the countdown continues to the 405 freeway shutdown, it’s important be prepared! Dr. John M. Kennedy stopped by KCAL9 Friday to talk about how to handle stress from the freeway frenzy.

On July 16 and 17, the busiest stretch of the 405 highway will be completely closed for 54 hours of construction, creating the mother of all traffic nightmares for Los Angeles residents. On a typical weekend in July, roughly 500,000 vehicles travel on the 405, a lifeline for many Westside dwellers, who use the 405 to access highways 10 and 101.

According to health experts, heart health is directly correlated with traffic issues. In a German study of patients who had a heart attack, researchers found the patients to be more than three times as likely to have been in traffic within an hour of the onset of their heart attack, with a statistically significant increase in the chance of experiencing a heart attack within six hours after exposure to traffic.

To make sure your heart is ready for the stress of the shutdown, Dr. Kennedy suggests THE B-R-E-A-T-H-E ™ TECHNIQUE.

1. Pay attention to your breathing. To help focus on your breathing, place one hand on the part of your chest or abdomen and watch your hand rise and fall with each breath.

2. BREATHE™ through your nose if possible. If you are unable to BREATHE™ through your nose, breathing in through your mouth will suffice.

3. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and feel it into your abdomen. You’ll see and feel your abdomen rise with each inhalation and your chest should move only slightly.

4. Exhale through your mouth, keeping your mouth, tongue, and jaw relaxed. Extend your exhalation. If you can, extend to a count of 7 like the number of letters in the word BREATHE™.

5. Relax and focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.

6. Listen to the conversation between your heart and brain. As you take a deep breath in, notice your pulse slightly increasing and as you exhale, your heart rate decreasing.

Repeat a series of 7 breaths and you will notice feeling deeply relaxed. You’ll know it’s time to go on to the next step in BREATHE™ when you feel all your muscles relax and your entire weight supported by your chair. The more you practice the easier conscious breathing becomes. After a few practices this technique will become routine and you can spend more of your focused energy on the heart-healing guided imagery–the second component of the BREATHE™ technique.

B in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for beginning
R in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for relaxation
E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for envision
A in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for apply
T in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for treatment
H in B- R-E-A-T-H-E is for heal
E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E is for end

For more information on Dr. John M. Kennedy, click here.

To learn more about BREATHE™, click here.

 

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