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Jun. 12, 2020

by Dr. George Rapier, Founder and CEO

Fellow Americans:

If you’re stressed, you’re not alone. I have been feeling it, too. COVID-19 has put strain on almost every aspect of our lives. For older adults, that stress can be life threatening. But just like with your physical health, there are ways you can take care of your mental wellbeing. I’d like to share with you a few things that you can do now to improve your mood.

Mindfulness – Dr. Sharon Theroux is a leading expert and trainer on stress reduction using the power of your mind. She’s been helping us learn this technique at WellMed. And now, thanks to the WellMed Charitable Foundation, we’re offering this service to our communities at no cost. So join Dr. Theroux for a 30-minute mindful session to help you stay calm, grounded and connected.

Join every week in June (Central Standard Time) online at

  • 8:00 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. – Monday through Friday
  • 10:30 a.m. – Wednesdays
  • Noon – Monday, Thursday or Friday

4-7-8 Breathing – Another way to prevent and minimize stress, anxiety, and panic. You may have seen WellMed’s recent TV public service announcements promoting this exercise developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It’s simple and effective.

  • 4 – Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
  • 7 – Hold it for 7 seconds
  • 8 – Exhale from your mouth with energy for 8 seconds
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times

Do this whenever you feel stress. To see an example visit

The three Bs: Being, Belonging and Becoming – Noted psychotherapist James “Dr. Jamie” Huysman is WellMed’s chief compassion officer. He is leading a series of sessions to encourage our patients to improve mood by embracing the three Bs.

  1. Being experience it by meditating, practicing 4-7-8 breath work or normal activities, like gardening. Keeping your mind busy can help put it at ease.
  2. Belonging is a human need, just like food and shelter. Feeling like you belong helps you value life and can help you cope with painful emotions. Simple things like calling friends and family can help to improve your feeling of belonging.
  3. Becoming is the idea that what happens to us is entirely up to us. When we apply our thoughts and actions toward something other than what is wrong, we tap into our fighting spirit. Setting simple daily achievable goals can help with becoming.

Optum Emotional Support Help Line – Open to the public, free and open 24/7 at 866-342-6892. Call to get tips and to be connected to local mental health professionals — no matter the situation.

COVID-19 is not over. Talk to your doctor and know your risks before you throw caution to the wind. Wear a mask if you must go out. Be sure to practice social distancing. And take care of your mental health, which can help your physical health. Stay in touch with friends and family over the phone or online. Give your loved ones at home a hug and let them know what they mean to you.

We’re all in this together. Let’s take care of each another. Our health depends on it.

Dr. George Rapier is founder, chairman and CEO of WellMed Medical Management, Inc.

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