Meditation is not a panacea or "fix-all"; it is also a loaded word that may evoke images of needing to sit on a pillow for 45 minutes a day, facing a wall and perfectly focusing on some mantra. While regular meditation is surely beneficial, when you have an already busy schedule, "not meditating" can just feel like another failure.
if you read any of biologist, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, he is a strong advocate for needing to meditate 45 minutes a day to be “successful”. This poses challenges for our striving, Type A, physician culture, and risks lacking self-compassion as we brand ourselves failures for not having time, energy, and/or ability to meet this very high bar.
Fortunately, it’s been shown that even 5 minutes of meditation per day can improve mood, and this can simply be:
It is important to note that meditation is not for everyone and not a panacea for health. Many people have histories of trauma and at some level the bustle of keeping busy protects them/us from harder thoughts that await in the quiet.
With that said, here are some great resources for learning to start to meditate:
This is covered nicely in Session #5: Self-Compassion and Burnout of the Self-Compassion for Healthcare Communities.
Most healthcare professionals chose healthcare because they want to help people. But there are very real and human limitations to how much we can help others, and in systems that have unrealistic demands of caregivers, often the result is overwhelming feelings of helplessness, anger, and burnout.
Knowing how to recognize our needs and limits AND being gentle with ourselves for these very human realities is an important part of maintaining our health.
Here is a good exercise from Session #5 on equanimity in providing care:
3 minute Video on exploring our values & and acting within them; from the Happiness Trap, Dr. R. Harris (about applying ACT principles to our lives)