Mindfulness in Healthcare: Tips to Relieve Stress & Improve Job Satisfaction

If you have been looking for tips and guidance about mindfulness in healthcare, then the story that I am about to share with you will not only help you to deal with stress, but also improve your job satisfaction.

“Tahsin, you haven’t been yourself since the time you’ve come back.” My colleague said this to me, after she observed a change in my behavior. I had only returned to work, after having delivered my second child.

She pointed that I was being overly emotional, and that this isn’t the Tahsin she knew. That was enough for me to go on a 6 month leave, so I could have time to reflect on my situation, and understand what was going on.

As I pondered over the possibilities, I decided to go for counseling, it was then I learned that I had had postpartum depression from my first child, but I wasn’t even aware of it, and then when I delivered my second child, things had only gotten worse.

Of course I didn’t want to stay that way, and so I went on my own journey of self-discovery, that helped me realise the importance of mindfulness.

I saw that by being mindful in stressful situations, I could respond to them in a more positive way, and in effect, have a more positive life experience.

And not just that, but I also learned about the shadow, or what I call the stress avatar, and how to effectively deal with it. Well, long story short, I was back to work, and feeling much better.

While mindfulness is a big topic, here are 3 powerful tips, that can serve as a great introduction to bring mindfulness in healthcare.

#1. Awareness: The word mindfulness can be interchangeably used with the word awareness. Essentially, mindfulness doesn’t mean thoughtfulness but rather, it means the ability to be aware, to observe, or to witness.

To become aware of the fact that you can be an observer, is the first step. And to that end, meditation can be of great help. Now I get it, many of us don’t know what meditation is, or how to go about it. (Remember to check the resources section below for the same.)

Meditation is a practise that helps you become aware of awareness.

Now, there’s really no way for one to put in words the experience of being aware. Because awareness is beyond comprehension. It is best to know it for yourself.

And yet, being aware or being mindful can go a long way in helping you have a more conscious response to the various challenges you face at work being a healthcare professional.

#2. Ask “Does it help?”: Did you watch the Bridge of Spies? If you haven’t I highly recommend it, it’s a great movie, and more importantly what I loved about it was how the Russian spy responds to challenging situations. When asked, are you not worried? His reply, “Does it help?”

If you find yourself getting stressed, you can ask, does it help? Of course it doesn’t. And you know what really helps? Mindfulness, or awareness! Whatever task or challenge may be at hand, you can always use mindfulness or awareness to see through it, and find best ways to overcoming any situation. All without needing to get stressed or burnt out.

Afterall, does it help? Of course not!

#3. Catch the story: The mind is a wonderful tool, it has a great ability to intellectualise, but it also has one more ability, it can exaggerate, and it can weave stories which are complete lies about doom and gloom, and essentially can be very negative. But the question is, how does a negative narrative help? A negative narrative may be good in a fictitious script in a movie, but when it comes to your life it’s not a movie. So it will be best for you to catch the mind, when it brings up a negative story, and have no interest in it. Refuse to be it’s audience, no matter how much it jumps up and down like an excited new director, who weaves sick stories and calls them masterpieces.

It’s your mind, rule it, and when it tries to create those negative stories, catch it, and drop it. Just drop the negative thoughts, that’s all you have to do with them.

Now, you might think, that’s well and good, but I still don’t know how to get started. And I can totally empathise.

Don’t let it appear like some rocket science, because it is not.

As promised here are resources you can use, to get a headstart on mindfulness, and experience less stress and more satisfaction in your job as a healthcare professional.

  1. Headspace: This is a meditation app, that can help you get started with meditation, and also be able to sleep more peacefully. Give it a go, and let me know what you think.

  2. Laughter: You know what is one of the greatest gifts we as human beings have? It is the fact that we can laugh. And research says, children laugh so much more than adults. I guess that’s our cue to bring laughter back into our lives, so we can enjoy the stress busting benefits laughter provides. And plus who doesn’t like to have more fun?

    Don’t know where to begin? How about jokes? Comedy movies? Cartoons even!

  3. The Stress Avatar: This one might need more work on your part. And also will need someone like me who can tell you more about what it is, and how you can deal with it more effectively. If you’d like to get some one on one help in being more mindful as a healthcare professional, then you may want to book a 30 min session with me, and I will introduce you to what the stress avatar is and how to deal with it more effectively.

That is it. My journey of becoming a more mindful healthcare professional, started with the realisation that I had to take responsibility for my life, and that was such an empowering thing. That I can take charge of my life, and make it work for me, whether at work, or at home. And it has since led to a wonderful turn of events, leading to better job satisfaction and a more fulfilling life experience.