Incorporating mindfulness training into your program

Residency Program Insider, July 31, 2019

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Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Resident Well-Being: A Guide for Residency Programs. For more information about this book, click here.

One technique that has been proven in the literature to promote clear thinking, compassion, emotional balance, and well-being is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is mental training that allows individuals to recognize unhelpful habitual thoughts and behaviors and to learn new and creative ways of responding. It has been well studied and is recognized as a healthy way to deal with stress. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) class is typically 29–33 hours of training; however, abbreviated courses and classes are beginning to be offered nationwide. This program is ideal for physicians because it is nonreligious yet addresses meaning and purpose, has secular and academic appeal, and has a solid scientific foundation.

Consider a mindfulness training session for your program as a starting point, and inquire about discounts for abbreviated classes for your program. You can incorporate these sessions into the following:

  • Retreats
  • Grand Rounds sessions
  • Other meetings at your hospital/institution

Most institutions have a resident mental health department, so consider contacting them to help coordinate activities. Consider putting together a list of resources in your hospital/institution, and distribute the list to residents during orientation. In addition, refer to the many smartphone applications and websites that can help novice learners practice the skills of mindfulness without requiring long training sessions.

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