Dr. Schwab introduces Marie to Gail Gazelle, MD, a practicing hospice physician and health professional coach, and they review multiple working definitions of mindfulness. She stresses the need for compassion, both for one’s patients as well as for oneself. Dr. Gazelle also emphasizes the importance of being in the present moment, staying focused on the reality in front of us. Marie comes to understand that focusing on the here and now allows one to put a distance between oneself and the downward spiral of negative thoughts that sometimes distract and preoccupy individuals who work in high stress professions. A benefit of practicing mindfulness and other related meditative techniques is that they enable us to effectively focus our attention where it belongs and to tune out the distractions. Another beneficial aspect of mindfulness is critical curiosity about one's own thought processes. By learning to focus on the task at hand, we are able to conserve energy that might otherwise be lost in negative thoughts. Drs. Gazelle and Schwab talk to Marie about incorporating a simple mindfulness practice into the course of her busy days in the office, and Marie agrees to give it a “college try.”
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