In times of tumult, it's easy for physicians to get caught up on every single issue making the news. This is the wrong approach.
It doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, these days, it's easy to open a newspaper, log on to the web, flip on the TV, or tap your smartphone to quickly find news from around the world that are not to your liking. If this happens to you once a day, consider yourself lucky. For most people, it happens multiple times a day.
It's important in times of stirring change to remember that all we can do is all we can do. Become the master of your own domain and that will be fine. Open up your intellectual kimono to every other issue that comes your way, and you'll soon feel frustrated and defeated.
Here are four tips that physicians can put into place now to maintain some semblance of equanimity throughout the course of the day, week, month, year and your career despite what news comes down the pike.
1. Pick a handful of causes or issues that you choose to follow and/or support. You can't be on top of everything and can't give your heart out in all directions. Narrow the field to what really matters to you and then give yourself permission to dive deeply into those issues.
2. Don't waste any time sparring online with others or trying to convince anybody else of your viewpoint when it's clear that they've already dug in their heels. It's fine for people to arrive at consensus, but it's a mutual process. If one party is too heavily invested in achieving a particular outcome, when the other is not, pretty much nothing is going to happen.
3. Give yourself a recurring rest from current events. That in turn helps to alleviate some of your stress and anxiety. You've likely got decades to go in this life. You don't want to dissipate too much more of your time on issues upon which you can do nothing. Pick your spots, stay true to your interests, and recognize that it will be all right. You can take time away from the information maelstrom. There is no cosmic scoreboard in the sky detailing whether or not you've kept pace hour by hour or day by day. You deserve a break today. Give yourself some time without tuning in.
4. Recognize that breaking news, as well as fads and what is currently trending, has a way of going by the wayside quickly. Rather than get caught up in the minutia of popular culture, focus on long-term trends.
* Where is humanity heading?
* What will the health be of the typical adult 10 years from now?
* What major milestones are likely to be accomplished within the next decade?
By focusing on the long-term, rather than fads or current events, you give yourself the opportunity to consider humanity in the world from a better vantage point.