The Little Known Secret to Happiness

It’s been a rough year to be a healthcare provider. Even before Covid became a pandemic in 2020, physician burnout was hovering around 40-50%. There has been a fair amount of research over the years looking at qualities that burned-out healthcare workers have in common with each other.

But recently the lens has shifted to a more interesting perspective:

  • What do happy healthcare workers have in common?
  • What are the traits of people who are thriving in their medical profession?

Re-framing the question to focus on ‘more content’ people generally brings a few commonalities out. And one quality that has risen to the top is something called self-compassion. Everyone (not just healthcare workers) show greater life contentment when they are compassionate to themselves. It’s ironic that in the medical field, in which workers deal compassionately with patients all day, that there’s too little compassion saved for oneself. But this is fix-able!

Techniques related to mindfulness are one of the most impactful ways to improve self-compassion. This means being mindful of one’s emotions, often through a meditation practice. There are even apps now available (such as Calm, Headspace, and Breethe) that offer a fast and easy way to practice mindfulness. Healthcare workers with more self-compassion and happiness end up contributing to better patient care. This is a way that making small changes leads to better outcomes for everyone.