A better way to practice... wellness

By Dr Justine Tuffley 

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With R U OK Day (8 September 2016) around the corner, we thought it would be timely to remind all our members about the importance of managing stress in their personal and professional lives. As we know stress is an integral part of the life of healthcare students, junior doctors and other healthcare practitioners. Challenges that we can rise to meet are usually good for us while stress without resolution can be corrosive to our health. There are many ways of approaching the problem however ‘mindfulness’ is a widely practiced and practical approach to improve wellness and wellbeing.

Being mindful is about developing the ability to think more clearly, to recognise thoughts and feelings without the need to react to them, to manage your stress and to enhance your sense of wellbeing.

Mindfulness is simply the practice of paying attention to what is happening right now. Our minds are often easily distracted, with worrying about the future or ruminating about the past so that we fail to pay attention to the present moment. For those in healthcare professions, the most important benefits of a mindfulness approach are the ability to manage stress and to be more objective and constructive in self-criticism.

A short exercise you can do to practice mindfulness:

1.Focus on one thing – usually your breath.

2. Typically, after a short period, your mind will wander.

3. Notice it has wandered.

4. Gently shift your attention back to your breathing.

5. Repeat

Develop regular practice

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you apply techniques such as regulated breathing and/or some form of meditation, the better it becomes to 'turn down the noise'. wellbeing.jn.jpg

There are a number of smartphone applications to download as well as some videos on YouTube that might help. Pick one that suits you.

Set an alarm in the morning and set aside just five to ten minutes to listen to a guided meditation. If you have trouble sleeping, try listening at night instead (preferably before bedtime).

Try to do one Mindful activity a week.

For example: 

  • Choose one meal to eat slowly, without distraction.
  • Sit down at a table, turn off your phone and concentrate on the meal.
  • Notice the smell, texture and taste of your food.
  • Pause between bites and savour the moment.
  • Some helpful contacts

    Lifeline   13 11 14
    Headspace  1800 650 890
    SANE  1800 187 263
    MensLine  1300 78 99 78  
    Mindhealthconnect      1800 022 222    
    mindful.org  

    Justine obtained her Medical degree from the University of Melbourne. She consults to corporate, healthcare and education groups on strategies to improve wellbeing and productivity, with a particular interest in workplace stress and mindfulness.
    She has recently presented on this topic at a number of MIPS sponsored university events to raise awareness around mindfulness and assist our student members with learning to manage their stress.

    Related on-demand education you may be interested in

    webinar
    Tips for Young Practitioners
    Tips and helpful hints for MIPS recent graduate members including: your internship - what to expect some do's and don'ts about managing risk; staying healthy, wise and stress free; effective interviewing and CV strategies; trouble free progression through prevocational training.

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    The materials provided are for educational purposes only. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken in preparing these materials, including the accuracy of the information supplied, MIPS does not accept any liability whatsoever arising out of the use or reliance of the information provided. Contact MIPS 24/7 Clinico-Legal Support 1800 061 113 or education@mips.com.au for specific advice.