The hectic pace of daily life and the stresses that accompany it may make you want to tune out. A healthier approach may be to tune in.
I know that sounds counterintuitive. But paying more attention to what is going on around you, not less, is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness, an excellent technique to help you cope with a range of mental and physical problems, including stress.
The practice of mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, teaches people to be present in each moment. The idea is to focus attention on what is happening now and accepting it without judgment.
Although it sounds simple, and even simplistic, mindfulness is Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
Do you suffer from decision fatigue when you are sick or anxious or overwhelmed by bad health news? Does your doctor make less well-reasoned decisions about the 10th patient she sees before lunch? How about the surgeon during his second operation of the day? How about the radiologist reading the last mammogram in a daily batch of 60?
A provocative article by John Tierney in Sunday’s NYTimes Magazine adds a new layer of complexity to the body of knowledge collecting around decision-making processes. Considerable news reporting has focused on how cognitive biases influence our judgment and how many of us experience the abundance of choices available to us as a burden rather than a privilege. This article adds to that understanding: Our decision-making abilities appear to be powerfully affected by the demands of repeated decision making as they interact with depleted blood glucose levels. That fatigue mounts over a day of making decisions and as blood glucose levels fall between meals. In response, we tend to either make increasingly impulsive decisions without considering the consequences or to make no decisions at all. Tierney describes a study analyzing 1,100 parole decisions by judges over the course of a year: “Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.”
The effects reported in the article were Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*
Read Seth Godin’s most recent post, The Amateur Scientist. In a way that only Seth can do he tells how our culture has turned us all into authorities. Important stuff.
I couldn’t help but think how this applies to the Internet and our health. Unrestrained access to information has got us all thinking we know more than we do. Godin wasn’t writing about the amateur physician but he might as well have been.
Missing from the black bag of the amateur physician is a tool called clinical judgment – the pivotal substrate necessary to tie together objective clinical information. Clinical judgment is the foundation of good medical decision-making. But you won’t find it on the Internet. It can’t be found in the cloud or the hive. It isn’t free and it’s tough to get. Read more »