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Mindfulness involves training oneself to pay attention to the present
moment without getting caught up in the past or worrying about the future, and
not reacting to experiences in the internal or external environment. It’s a
form of meditation, a way of living, and is increasingly being applied
clinically to treat depression, anxiety and a host of other physical and mental
Dr Craig Hassed, senior lecturer in the Monash
University Department of General Practice and author of Mindfulness for Life,
says doctors who practice mindfulness can be more effective.
doctor, to be mindful in practice means really paying attention to what you are
doing and really listening to the patient, paying attention to the procedure,
picking up the clinical signs and being aware of your own biases and thought
processes. It makes doctors less likely to make a diagnostic
Mindfulness is taught to students from their first year at
Monash and has been shown to significantly improve their mental health and
quality of life, even during the high-stress exam semesters. Mindfulness
training for physicians has been shown to reduce burnout, improve mental health
and improve empathy to patients.  “Learning mindfulness may be the
single most important skill you learn,” says Dr Hassed.
doctor, to be mindful in a practice means really paying attention to what you
are doing and really listening to the patient.” -Dr Craig Hassed
Reprinted with permission
1 Hassed C et al. Enhancing the health of medical
students: outcomes of an integrated mindfulness and lifestyle program. Advances
in Health Sciences Education 2009; 14 (3): 387-398. 2 Krasner MS et al.
Association of an educational program in mindful communication with burnout,
empathy, and attitudes among primary care physicians. Journal of the American
Medical Association 2009; 302(12):1284-93.