Health workers facing exhaustion find strength through transcendental meditation

Last year, in an effort to support medical providers and leading executives on the verge of exhaustion, we launched Heal the Healers Now.

Most recently, Providence Journal’s Hadley Barndollar spoke with Dr. Tony Nader, a physician and head of the International Transcendental Meditation Organization, about this initiative to provide meditation to those struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound benefits. of the usual MT. practice.

The following is an excerpt from this article, which was originally published at www.providencejournal.com.

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Dr. Brad Collins was one of those holding the iPad as dying patients with COVID-19 said their last goodbyes to loved ones.

The few days he was free, he slept. He was fighting. And, ironically, he was in charge of mindfulness resources for his co-workers also at the front line of COVID.

“It was really traumatic, and I don’t think most of us realized it until we started seeing the vaccine come out,” said Collins, who works at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

The dark days of COVID-19 have advanced, but Collins is now much better off thanks to a new coping mechanism. He learned transcendental meditation.

Five New England Hospitals Host Heal the Healers Now during COVID-19. pandemic.

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“Spending 20 minutes twice a day in transcendental meditation really helps to focus,” Collins said. “I compare it to a bucket that seems to be overflowing all the time, and Transcendental Meditation helps you empty that bucket so it doesn’t always spill.”

Healthcare workers are suffering from COVID exhaustion. So why meditate?

A national survey published in May with more than 20,000 health workers found that nearly half suffered burnout and 38% suffered from anxiety and depression. The survey found the highest stress scores among nursing assistants, nurses and social workers, as well as black and Latino / Latino employees.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently pledged $ 100 million to address the nationwide staff shortage that is leaving the remaining health workers exhausted.

[…]

How can transcendental meditation help?

Transcendental meditation has been hailed by celebrities Ellen Degeneres and Tom Brady, as well as war veterans dealing with PTSD. It has documented benefits for stress and anxiety, brain function, and cardiovascular health, and the technique has been studied by Harvard Medical School, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Defense. the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association.

“It’s a moment of joy, really, a moment of relief,” Nader said. “A time to get away from stressors and problems.”

Preliminary findings from trials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, and three hospitals in Miami, Florida, showed a marked reduction in anxiety and fatigue for physicians and nurses. From there, other hospitals started asking for it, Nader said.

Nonprofit Transcendental Meditation describes the practice as “allowing your active mind to settle easily inward, through calmer levels of thought, until you experience the quieter, more peaceful level of your own.” consciousness: pure consciousness “.

In its simplest form, Nader said, transcendental meditation is sitting in a chair and closing your eyes, allowing yourself to naturally follow the course of the mind. It requires very little effort, he said, and can be done in 15-20 minutes a day.

There is “absolutely no prerequisite,” Nader said, and it is likely that people who say “meditation is not for me” will be the ones who can benefit the most.

“If you’re the type who says,‘ I can’t get my mind to sit still for a minute, my mind rushes all the time, ’then meditation is absolutely for you,” he said.

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Miriam Hospital now has between 5 and 6 rooms dedicated to employee meditation at any given time, Collins said, and the technique is being talked about among staff, creating a new culture of self-care.

First, the head nurses were trained and then the hospital opened up opportunities for other employees.

“I’ve definitely slept better, I feel more engaged,” Collins said. “I feel better prepared to do the things that need to be done at work and at home. My disposition has been much better when it comes to being able to deal with stressors when they show up. And it was noticed during the first sessions “.

Collins knows that meditation is not a cure for the many obstacles that health workers face right now, but he widely recommends it as a way to ease the burden.

“It’s amazing and it sounds really silly,” he said. “Just take the time and it’s very simple.”

Click here to read the full piece from the Providence Journal, or find a local TM teacher at www.TM.org.


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