“Ninety-nine percent of doctor visits are for conditions related to stress.” – Timothy McCall, MD
Being sick is stressful; I can only imagine what it’s like to help those who are sick. As a medical professional, you not only treat the sickness, but the person’s concerns. This can weigh you down and cause your own stress. You spend your days giving of yourself, which can be draining. You know stress isn’t bad. It depends on how you choose to react to it. Raising your level of awareness can help reduce your stress levels.
As a medical professional, you may have little time for taking breaks, chit-chatting by the water cooler or even sitting down for a restful 15 minutes. Here are a few on-the-go meditation and relaxation ideas:
1. Deep Breathing
As you walk to meet your next patient or are attending a meeting, inhale slowly (to the count of four or five) through your nose all the way to your belly. Feel your belly expand as you inhale. Hold the breath for two counts, and slowly exhale (to a count of four or five). Think of nothing else but counting, inhaling and exhaling. By the time you reach your destination, your heartbeat will be lower and your nerves will be more at ease.
2. Coffee Break Contractions
While standing in line for coffee or snack, stand with your feet under your hips. Relax your shoulders and place your hands at your sides. Inhale slowly and, starting at your toes, tighten your feet, calves, legs and buttocks. Exhale slowly and release the muscles. Inhale again and tighten your abs, hands and arms. Exhale slowly and release. Repeat two or three times, or until you get your coffee/snack. Your mind and body will be more relaxed, allowing you to focus on the work at hand, and not your stress.
3. Elevator Escape
While traveling from floor-to-floor, close your eyes. Inhale slowly and imagine your favorite place. As you exhale, look around in your wonderful world. Continue to inhale and exhale as you imagine yourself in this special place. By disconnecting from your surroundings, even for a few moments (or floors), you can center and re-focus yourself. This will help you look at situations freshly, and with a calm mind.
4. 15 Minute Meditations
Find someplace quiet—an empty room, bathroom stall or parking garage—and sit comfortably. Set the alarm on your phone for 15 minutes (or arrange to have someone call/text you in 15 minutes). For the first few minutes, breathe slowly in and out of your nose. Focus on breathing, and forget about everything else. If worries or concerns find you, find yourself sitting next to a river or stream. Pluck the ideas from your head and lay them in the river, allowing them to float away. For the rest of the time, you can think about a single focus like a word or image. You can also use a tool like mala beads to chant quietly.
Studies have shown that 15 minutes a day spent in meditation can reduce stress and increase self-control. Did you also know that it can help you learn? Another positive side effect is that meditation helps increase focus, attention and engagement.