SPONSOR CONTENT PAID FOR BY DR. REENA KOTECHA
Those working in healthcare often experience a chronic state of stress. There are lots of reasons for this: chronic excessive workload, long working hours, rotating shift patterns, patient demands, administrative burdens, exam pressure, and more. Over the past two decades, research has shown how mindfulness can be an effective tool for stress management and stress reduction. Here’s how it helps clinicians working in fast-paced, pressured, and under-resourced healthcare systems:
1. Managing difficult emotions
Mindfulness helps healthcare professionals become more aware of their physical sensations, mental thought patterns, and emotional states during stressful situations such as challenging patient encounters. This can reduce the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, and anger that often accompany stress, and as we know, affect our ability to care for patients. In a research study of an intervention developed and facilitated by physician Dr. Reena Kotecha called Mindful Medics, neurosurgeons undergoing the course were found to have a post-course statistically significant reduction in perceived stress scores and emotional exhaustion, which is known to be a core component of burnout. (1)
2. Enhancing relaxation
Mindfulness-based relaxation techniques—the body scan, guided breathing meditation, and the thought-cloud practice—can help reduce physical tension in the body that can build up over the course of the working day, leading to a sense of relaxation. These techniques and more are offered in the new Mindful in Healthcare Online Course, a program created by Dr. Kotecha which uses the Mindful Medics intervention. The clinicians Dr. Kotecha has worked with have shared that they use these mindfulness practices to wind down after a stressful shift and this helps them get a better night’s sleep.
3. Improving cognitive function
Chronic stress can reduce our capacity to focus and think clearly. Regular practice of mindfulness can improve focus, attention, and cognitive performance, making it easier to manage our stress triggers and avoid feelings of overwhelm. Particularly for clinicians performing complex and intricate tasks, mindfulness can help in managing distractions and heighten focus, thus reducing errors and mistakes. Neurosurgeons who participated in the Mindful Medics research study had significantly reduced inattention blindness errors as compared to controls, suggesting mindfulness as a potential tool to increase vigilance and prevent operative mistakes. (2)
4. Providing a sense of perspective
Mindfulness is a present-moment awareness of oneself,others, and the environment with an attitude of openness, curiosity, and kindness. In cultivating the attitudes of mindfulness, people find that they’re better able to step back and see situations in a more balanced and objective way, reducing the intensity of stress responses.
Overall, mindfulness can be a powerful tool for reducing the impact of stress on the mind and body, promoting a sense of calm and well-being, and improving overall resilience, particularly in the clinical environment.
Practising mindfulness is something that can be done in just a few minutes a day, and is a skill that you can integrate into your clinical routine. You might take 3 deep breaths to help you reset between patient consultations, you might practise the mindful senses exercise every time you wash your hands at work, or you can savor positive experiences using the 3 good things practice, all of which are available in the Mindful in Healthcare Course.
More about the Mindful in Healthcare Self-Paced Digital Course
This self-paced, evidenced-based course created for clinicians by clinicians is packed with videos, guided meditations, reflective exercises, and downloadable infographic handouts to help you to thrive in clinical practice.
Here’s a look at some of the content covered in the 7 modules:
Module 1: Mindful attention training to supercharge your focus and concentration
Healthcare environments are full of distractions and we often find ourselves multi-tasking to keep up. In this module Dr. Kotecha focuses on mindful attention training to supercharge your focus and concentration. She provides a step-by-step process and theory of focused attention practice to help you combat distractions in the healthcare environment.
Module 2: Using mindfulness to manage stress and effectively manage challenges in healthcare
In Module 2, Dr. Kotecha explores the problem of stress in healthcare and considers the research evidence linking mindfulness to stress reduction. She defines what mindfulness is, and teaches you how to use mindfulness tools to effectively manage challenges. The videos include guided mindfulness practices that you can seamlessly integrate into your daily routine.
Module 3: Response flexibility training to emotionally regulate and create thoughtful responses in challenging situations
Do you find yourself instinctively reacting to situations at home and at work and then regretting your actions? Mindfulness tools can help us thoughtfully respond rather than instinctively react. This teaches you how to develop response flexibility, emotionally regulate, and create thoughtful responses in challenging situations. Dr. Kotecha offers guided visualization and meditation practices to help you cope with the fast-paced and frequently uncertain environment of healthcare.
Module 4: Mindful self-compassion,a positive self-management tool for personal well-being and professional effectiveness
It’s no secret that healthcare professionals work in a culture of perfectionism and they’re often very self-critical. This can lead to feelings of unworthiness, stress, and anxiety. It doesn’t need to be this way. There is a kinder and more effective way of engaging with ourselves. In this module, you’ll learn about the positive self-management tool of mindful self-compassion. Dr. Kotecha provides a written reflective practice and defines the components of self-compassion while busting common misconceptions.
Module 5: Shift out of the negativity bias using positive psychology practices
Research shows that many clinicians struggle with psychological distress and negativity as a result of their work or working conditions. In this module you’ll learn tools from the area of positive psychology which will help you identify and savor your positive experiences and emotions in healthcare. This module focuses on positive emotions such as gratitude, joy, hope, and more. Dr. Kotecha also guides you through a gratitude meditation which will help you shift out of the negativity bias.
Module 6: Effects of sleep disruption on well-being and performance of healthcare professionals, and how to minimize it.
In Module 6 Dr. Kotecha shares the effects of sleep disruption on well-being and performance of healthcare professionals. She also offers ‘GREAT’ tools for a great night of sleep. ‘GREAT’ is an acronym which encompasses evidence-based tools which will help you get quality sleep. There are additional tips for night shift workers.his module also contains a soothing thought-cloud meditation practice which helps calm the racing mind just before bed.
Module 7: Strengthening relationships at work and at home through psychological safety, mindfulness, empathy and compassion practices
This module focuses on strengthening relationships at work and at home. You’ll discover the secret to high-performing teams and learn practical tips to create an environment of psychological safety within your team at work. You’ll also be offered mindfulness awareness tools which will help you better connect with your friends and loved ones. This module also contains a guided empathy and compassion practice which is known to fuel positive connection with others.
Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your well-being and professional effectiveness. Sign up now!
This content was provided by our paid sponsor Dr. Reena Kotecha and may not reflect the views, opinions, or voice of Mindful.
- Pandit, A.S., Reka, A., Horsfall, H.L. and Marcus, H.J., 2022. Mindfulness training for young neurosurgeons: a virtual multicenter prospective pilot study. World Neurosurgery, 164, pp.e446-e457.
- Pandit, A.S., de Gouveia, M., Horsfall, H.L., Reka, A. and Marcus, H.J., 2022. Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in Ameliorating Inattentional Blindness Amongst Young Neurosurgeons: A Prospective, Controlled Pilot Study. Frontiers in Surgery, p.640.