In the early 1970s, when Dr. Herbert Benson was defining and testing the techniques he presented to the world in his revolutionary book, The Relaxation Response, I was a hippie teenager learning transcendental meditation (TM). Flash forward about 40 years and I’m sitting in an amphitheater packed with a few hundred medical students, faculty, and staffers from Harvard Medical School listening to the iconic director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute explain the myriad benefits of the relaxation response.
The relaxation response is a self-induced quieting of brain activity. It leads to a body-wide slowdown and a feeling of well-being that have measurably positive effects on disorders caused by stress or made worse by it, including high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and many digestive disorders. As Dr. Benson describes in Stress Management, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
“I need you to do me a favor,” my nurse asked me at the end of our day on Friday.
“Sure,” I answered. “What do you want?”
“Please have a better week next week,” she said with a pained expression. “I don’t think I can handle another one like this week.”
It was a bad week. There was cancer, there was anxiety, there were family fights, there were very sick children. It’s not that it’s unusual to see tough things (I am a doctor), but the grouping of them had all of us trudging home drained of energy. Spent.
I think this is one of the toughest thing about being a doctor (and nurse, by my nurse’s question): The spending of emotional reserves. I’m not physically active at work, yet I come home tired. I don’t have to be busy to feel drained. It’s not the patients’ fault that I feel tired. They are coming to me to get the service I offer to them, and I think I do that job well. The real problem is in me. The real problem is that I care. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
Ever wonder how ICU nurses get through their daily grind? Why, with ICU Bingo, of course.
How does ICU Bingo work? It works just like regular bingo. Every nurse receives their own Bingo card with different ICU diagnoses. And every time they take care of one of these conditions, they get to “x” it out. Fill out a line or any other predetermined design pattern, and you are the ICU Bingo winner, and you win a prize.
This is quite similar to my 2010 March Madness Hospitalist Bracket, only in this case the game is Bingo. As you can see, this nurse has already cared for a GI bleed, a homeless man, a drug overdose, chest pain, DKA, alcohol withrawal, subdural hematoma, a prisoner, and someone with super-morbid obesity. That’s ICU medicine for you.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*
I like to pass on good tips, and these ways to simplify your life make a lot of sense. The constant stress we feel because life is so complicated isn’t good for our health. Here are six tips to have a simpler lifestyle:
1. De-Clutter Your Home
Look around. If you have piles of paper, too many “things” and nic-nacs laying around, it’s hard to think clearly and function. An open, clear space allows our minds to feel open and more peaceful. Tackle one room at a time. Be ruthless and donate or toss everything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or has special memories.
2. Limit Family Activities
Try to force family members to choose only those activities that are most important. Many of us are over-scheduled and have no time to “just see where the day will take us.” Thirty years ago no stores were open on Sundays and there wasn’t much to do except go on picnics or just hang out with friends and family. It’s okay to “veg out” and may even be good for your family’s health. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Here on this balcony, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the wind is cool, the air typically thick with humidity, my wife reading a novel by my side. Inside the rental, our children are winding down after days of sun, sand and sea. Their bodies scrubbed pink by salt water and ocean breezes, their faces glowing with sun. My daughter’s lovely blonde hair is more blonde than usual.
I am on leave, in a sense. I am not, however, in the armed forces. Furthermore, I am not at a conference or working at all (except for a little writing, which is as much breath as work.) I am, in fact, celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary on a trip suggested and planned by my love.
I have accomplished little that the world would view as substantial this week. I have viewed it as a kind of sabbath. I have enjoyed my family, played on the beach, eaten far too much and delighted in every single, solitary minute…and Oreos.
“Sabbath,” “on leave,” “R&R” — however one describes it, we must remember to do it — we need it — because life is a kind of battle. Many well-educated, peaceful post-moderns think that’s far to bellicose a description, but the truth remains: Life is a struggle that rises to the description of battle with stark regularity. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*