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Doctors Should Seek Mindfulness

Views from our Advisory Panel

By Elise Brisco, OD, FAAO

We live and die by the clock. Staying on time is paramount to keeping patients happy and our office running smoothly. To keep up this pace and maintain a nurturing, yet productive office environment, we need to lay the groundwork by taking care of ourselves first. When we set goals for my office this year, my staff and I started with personal goals. I explained that in order to grow the practice and care for our patients at the highest level, we need to make sure everything is good with ourselves, including our home and family life. This philosophy and culture have made us a happier and more efficient team.

Eating healthy and physical exercise are not enough to keep us well. We need to exercise our consciousness in addition to exercising our bodies. I started doing yoga and acupuncture during a tumultuous period of my life. I now think of yoga as being a mental massage, and I am grateful for being able to get my chi flowing and serotonin pumping through acupuncture.

Today, I continue to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes my yoga practice at home, a healthy diet, daily exercise and choosing immunosupportive treatments (such as homeopathic medicine) before immunosuppressive medications. Meditating 10 minutes each day at the office leaves me clear-minded and energized even in the middle of a hectic day.

Research has shown that meditation affects the alpha brain waves to reduce stress, which is the root of many physical ailments and illnesses. Stress reduces the effectiveness of your immune system and has been linked to everything from hypertension and obesity to exacerbating autoimmune diseases and migraine headaches.

Resetting your mind takes practice and discipline. Here are a few apps that can get you started: Headspace, Buddhify and Omvana. There are many more resources online and offline to learn how to meditate, but actually it is quite easy and intuitive once you learn to clear your mind of all distractions and be in the moment.

Meditating will do you a world of good. Today, I am stronger—and busier—than ever, as a single, working mom running a multidisciplinary, integrative wellness center; staffing at the Rehabilitative Vision Clinic at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center; and branching out into the tech sector.

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