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Wellbeing

The state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.

By Karen Forshaw
GP Doncaster (Yorkshire & the Humber)

Wellbeing is a well-used word in the field of medicine. What does it really mean?  Oxford Dictionary Definition: The state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.  This definition is very broad. Perhaps we should pay attention to what it means for us. What do we think is important? What do we want more of in our life? What do we want less of? Also, what do we want to stop entirely?

Your definition of wellbeing will be unique and influenced by your internal model of the world and what is happening in your life.  This is where self-awareness is crucial to improving our wellbeing.

During the pandemic levels of burnout and suicide have been visibly rising in healthcare workers.  We have all felt the strain.  How do we improve our wellbeing?

The only way to do this is have at your fingertips a diverse collection of tools and techniques – A Resilience Toolkit.  That way you are not limited by any one philosophy, doctrine or therapeutic approach.

www.resilientpractice.co.uk shares a large number of diverse tools and techniques to get you started.  Click the button below.

One of the most important tools that we teach is Mindfulness. This term is overused and often misunderstood. It has been recognised in medicine for decades and many of us will have sign-posted patients towards it.

But do we know what it actually means and do we fully appreciate its benefits?

Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment.

It is human nature to project ourselves into both past and future. We visit the future, often visualising the worst case scenario to prepare ourselves for what is to come, thereby ensuring our survival. We return to the past in order to examine unresolved events and process their outcomes. This often leads to feelings of guilt and shame.

Projection is unavoidable but causes harm when it is largely negative. Acknowledging this alone is an important step towards growth.  When we are present, we are not projecting. The only thing that exists is what is right in front of us. This is rarely catastrophe.

We have all had the experience when consulting when we have been fully present. Our only focus is the patient in front of us. Not the one before or the multitude of tasks we know await us. In these moments exactly the right information and action has presented itself without thought. When we work intuitively with patients we are in fact working mindfully.

There are many recognised benefits to practising Mindfulness.

  • Stress relief
  • Reduces BP
  • Reduces pain
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves overall wellbeing

There are several ways to improve your mindfulness skills. Follow the links below for in-depth articles and step-by-step tools.

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