Dentists, physicians, and therapists help patients of all backgrounds manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. While crucial, this role shouldn’t overshadow the need for clinician healing and wellness. Prolonged stress causes burnout which, in turn, increases the chances of medical errors and puts doctors at risk of depression and anxiety. Understanding the mind-body connection reduces these negative outcomes.
What Is the Mind-Body Connection?
Medical professionals have long questioned the relationship between physical and mental health. Centuries ago, many doctors believed the mind and body were mutually exclusive. However, clinical studies over the last 20 years show this isn’t the case—the mind and body constantly influence each other. If a patient has back pain, for example, they are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. Likewise, these psychological disorders worsen, if not cause, pain. Thus, for patients to achieve total healing and wellness, clinicians must address both their physical and mental symptoms.
The mind-body connection allows for a more holistic approach to health care. However, patients aren’t the only ones who benefit from it—clinicians do too.
Why Should Clinicians Care?
Today’s health care system involves demanding schedules, strict deadlines, and overall emotional intensity. Over time, these factors put significant stress on clinicians, leading to depersonalization, lack of purpose, emotional exhaustion, and other symptoms of burnout. In turn, this stress reaction harms medical professionals and the patients they treat. As mentioned previously, clinician burnout causes medical errors and higher rates of depression. It also makes doctors more likely to leave practice, reducing patients’ access to and continuity of care.
To reduce these harmful outcomes, the health care system must address clinician burnout on both an administrative and personal level. Hospitals and clinics, for example, can offer flexible work schedules, streamline workflow, and support a work-home balance.
Physicians, on the other hand, can take personal strides toward healing and wellness by embracing the mind-body connection. For instance, they can exercise, meditate, or take up a new hobby. Likewise, they can see a counselor or join a support group. These activities strengthen both the mind and body, thus promoting total wellness and reducing the risk of burnout. As a result, both clinicians and patients have better health outcomes.
Metro Collaborative™ is a New York City-based organization dedicated to reducing clinician burnout and promoting healing and wellness. Throughout the year, they host holistic workshops and Caribbean retreats, all designed to nourish both the mind and body. They also organize peer-to-peer dinners that foster strong, local referral networks. Visit their website to view upcoming events, or call (609) 876-9163 for more information.