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First posted on Educate the Young on 02/20/2013

When did someone last give you a tool that added more time in your day, or provided greater clarity or calm? What if you were told that to achieve this, all it would take would be a 10 minute investment each day? Would you believe it? If you have 10 minutes right now, you can decide for yourself by listening to Andy Puddicombe, whose TED Talk on mindfulness follows. I share his talk because in healthcare, we are constantly being told to do more with less. Incorporate one more initiative into an already busy day. See more patients in the same allotment of time. Hopping from one task to the next, we are rarely in the moment for very long if at all, and in order for health systems to become highly reliable, mindfulness has been identified as a necessary standard operating procedure.

In this short talk, Puddicombe reminds us of the power in experiencing each moment exactly as it is–something we knew how to do innately as children, but have lost the ability to greater responsibilities over time. He refers to a recent Harvard study published in Science, A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind, by psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert who used an iPhone app to track thoughts, feelings and actions of study participants. Results showed that participants spent almost half their time thinking about things they weren’t doing–missing out on life happening right in front of them, resulting in reports of greater unhappiness.

The good news is that through mindfulness practice we can learn to regain command over consciousness and return to the present–experiencing the moment without judgement. It is this type of awareness — of ourselves and our surroundings — that will improve healthcare, as well as our experience while working within it.

Please share with a colleague –