If you’re a practicing physician, you don’t need anyone else to tell you that the risk for chronic stress and burn out has been rising. A recent Mayo clinic survey found more than half of physicians today have at least one symptom of burn out. Excessive stress of this kind doesn’t affect only your own wellbeing, but often affects communication and patient care.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs have been shown through hundreds of studies to decrease stress and anxiety, along with many other specific benefits. Studies report improvements in how health-care providers feel, and suggest gains in patients’ perceptions of provider empathy, as well as other related measures.
Most importantly, mindfulness is meant to be practical and accessible to anyone. It isn’t specifically a meditation technique, nor does it aim for constant bliss, perfection, or the elimination of stress – none of which is possible. It also doesn’t take a lot of time, and can be integrated into anyone’s busy life.
What mindfulness really shows is that we can intentionally develop traits that help manage the stress and uncertainty of life. When we regularly train ourselves to be more focused, less reactive, and to settle ourselves throughout the day before stress takes over, our lives get easier. The best analogy for mindfulness is probably exercise. Work out, your physical health improves. Practice mindfulness, your mental health does, improving your own resilience and therefore impacting how you relate to your colleagues and patients too.
Mindful Medicine is an interactive online program accessible from any computer or phone. Live weekly sessions are recorded and available to watch later if you miss them and for review. The emphasis is on practical solutions and realistically affecting everyday changes in the stressful world of modern medicine.