Stress and the Medical System

Five years ago I could have written a compelling article about how stressful the medical system can be both for the patients and the providers. Today, this issue is amplified, spotlighted, and replayed daily on the news. We see an increased incidence of stress-related conditions like Heart Disease, Asthma, Obesity, Insomnia, Diabetes, body pain, headaches, Gastrointestinal problems and Autoimmune conditions, while our healthcare system is further stretched. I’ve worked with clients who wait weeks for a key appointment only to feel like they didn’t get to address what mattered most. Relatedly, I’ve worked with physicians who skip food and water during their shift, do notes on the weekend, and are told they still aren’t productive enough. While this is clearly a larger systems issue, there is a lot of research how we as individuals can most adaptively cope. For example, we know that not all types of stress interventions and coping strategies are equally effective. At Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality they study this. For example, when they compared mindfulness, antidepressants, and a few minute nightly gratitude exercises, the latter came out ahead. Learn more about these tools and explore online trainings here

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