Managing the demands of professional life

This is the title of an article recently published and written by a psychiatrist and a cardiac surgeon. It’s about an important question not only for physicians but also for other professionals. I found their answer recognizable for most of their concepts.

In short, it’s about five concepts that can be helpful in the work of busy professionals.

  • Mindfulness, to my opinion one of the least recognizable concepts to be advised to busy professionals. Professionals are usually busy trying to achieve goals in the near future. They take little time to think and enjoy the present. The article goes into detail about some of the exercises you can do for mindfulness. Examples of these exercises can easily be found on the Internet.
  • Intentionality. This is about “having a choice”. Professionals tend to be busy to live up to expectations, being prepared to choose whatever others demand or expect from us, instead of thinking about our own needs. The extreme is automatic living. Loosing focus on our personal dreams and hopes. You’ll always have a choice, worth remembering.
  • Empathy. The authors use the term mindsight, to me empathy or the ability to connect the experiences of others is an important quality for professionals. Empathy is the important feature in order to be able to know what others are going through, see the world through their lens.
  • Forgiveness and shared meanings. These processes allow us to reconnect to people who have hurt, disappointed, or angered us. When we don’t forgive, we create toxic relationships, both with ourselves and with others. It is the heaviness of resentment that prevents us from being at ease.
  • Management of stress. Stress is hard to recognize or to admit. Stress leads to coping but a kind of coping that’s not intended to profit our live. Coping with stress usually serves us well in the moment. It reduces stress temporarily. Eventually it creates more stress over time. For me this is the most important factor.

For me coping with the stress is the most important, the other aspects usually result or cause the stress. A kind of vicious circle can result from this mechanism. Stress causes a lack of empathy followed by a lack of motivation for treating patients and finding the positive aspects of your work. What do you think?
Dickey, J., & Ungerleider, R. (2007). Managing the demands of professional life Cardiology in the Young, 17 (S2) DOI: 10.1017/S1047951107001242