How have you been feeling lately?
Frustration. Fatigued. Anxious. Sadness. Overwhelmed. Stressed.
These were just a few of the words physicians used to describe their current emotional state during “Resilience Reset,” an interactive virtual discussion at TexMed 2021 led by bestselling author and emotional intelligence expert Anne Grady.
Ms. Grady took it upon herself to study the brain to understand complications with her child’s mental health, and later her own experience with a brain tumor. She delved into her learnings and shared her insights with more than 200 physicians in attendance for her virtual talk on Saturday, May 15.
“Uncertainty is the biggest threat of all to your brain. It would rather have an outcome it doesn’t like instead of one it doesn’t know,” she said. “Self-care is a requirement for resilience. You can’t think of it as an indulgence but a skill you have to cultivate.”
With that in mind, Ms. Grady gave physician participants practical coping tools to address their mindset, skillset, and ability to reset when tackling negative emotions. For instance, she taught physicians to use increased levels of stress as information with which to make a decision, versus simply reacting in a “fight or fight” mode.
“When we try not to feel an emotion, we actually increase the intensity and duration we feel it,” she said. “The key is not to get rid of the threat but to change the story you tell yourself about it.”
Breathing techniques, naming emotions, and cultivating positive moments to offset negative bias were just a few of the skills Ms. Grady imparted to physicians to help them begin to build their resilience toolkit.
“Your brain cannot be under sustained stress without impairing your ability to take care of patients,” she said.
By the end of the hour-long talk, physician attendees had much different perceptions to share: Grateful. Hopeful. Enlightened. Mixed. Reaffirmed.
One physician attendee shared the following take-away: “So our perception of stress is a signal – a vital sign of our mental health.”
“Hopeful and thankful to TMA for supporting physician wellness,” another attendee concluded.