6) You’re always running late. Make a commitment that you’ll be five to even fifteen minutes early to every patient shift you start.
7) You never take a mental break. Taking mental breaks every once in a while, creates opportunities for learning and enjoying new things. To incorporate them into your daily life, set up rules for yourself.
8) Your phone has become an appendage. Never turning off your phone, or even worse, being unable to even put it down, leaves you open to constant interruptions. Be sure to give yourself some quiet time to think, to plan, to reflect in a place where there’s no phone and no one walking through the door, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day.
9) You’re impossible to please. The practice manager is not working hard enough, the patients are not getting better fast enough, your income isn’t high enough. You don’t have enough resources, a strong-enough team, sufficient support from others. The solution to these seemingly external problems is to turn inward and change your mindset. One of my mantras, which I developed when I noticed this warning sign in myself, has become, “I have all I need.”
10) You live in the past or the future. You reminisce, telling stories of past glories. Or you await the future, unable to really start living until a certain goal is behind you. Both of these are signals that you’re living outside the present, a habit that only leads to more stress. Being present in the moment, enjoying the conversation, the meeting, the people and the challenges as they come up will reduce stress.
Over the years, I’ve learned that we can intentionally change our attitudes, habits and self-talk. It’s not a matter of avoiding stress altogether – in fact, some stress can help keep us on our toes. The trick is to monitor our time and attention, to get feedback and to re-calibrate our schedules based on what we learn.
Like a recovering alcoholic, I have to commit every day to smelling the roses. I’ve concluded that to do otherwise will create a form of success at the cost of failing in what matters most: Finding peace from a life well lived – a peace that won’t come from promotions, status, fame or fortune.