Three Choices Physicians Can Make to Reduce Stress

August 21, 2015

There are many things in life physicians have no control over. But, by making deliberate, positive choices, they can often improve a negative situation.

Suppose you could choose to reduce stress, have a great work-life balance, and live your life with greater grace and ease? If you feel stressed, flustered, and overwhelmed, you can choose to embody "grace and ease." If you're online and feel swamped by information, you can choose to have greater clarity.

Making profound choices is a fundamental and deceptively powerful way to keep stress at bay while handling the challenges that work and life throw at you - whether it's treating a problem patient, learning a new technology, surviving a reorganization, or grappling with the ACA.

Making choices is an effective, proven way to give yourself positive, specific self-talk. Often, you will begin to sense a difference in yourself within a single day.

It's your choice

Below are three situations where carefully crafted "choice" statements can help you. Thereafter, you can employ these statements as is, or adapt them to more appropriately fit your needs.

1. Choosing to enjoy the present

Has it been some time since you've enjoyed yourself right now, in the present? Do you find yourself overly preoccupied with concerns? Here are a few key statements to employ in your self-talk. Each will help you to reclaim today and all the potential that today holds for you:

I choose to fully engage in the activity at hand.

I choose to proceed at a measured, effective pace.

I choose to acknowledge all I have.

I choose to relish my days.

I choose to relish this moment.

I choose to be fully present to others.

I choose to focus on where I am and what I'm doing.

I choose to acknowledge that this is the only moment I can take action.

It is vital to phrase all of your choices to indicate what you choose to feel, or have, and not what you wish to avoid. When choosing to avoid something, you gain no advantage!

2. Choosing to master your finances

Since personal finances frequently are cited by people as the number one stressor, and they are often an issue for physicians as well, these statements could be vital for you:

I choose to easily live within my means.

I choose to budget my cash resources appropriately.

I choose to save 15% of my salary each payday.

I choose to plan for my child's higher education fund.

I choose to easily provide for my retirement.

I choose to undertake comprehensive cash flow planning.

I choose to save for the long term.

I choose to get qualified, professional advice.

I choose to invest my money with stable, secure savings.

To reinforce your use of choice statements, record them so you can play them back as desired. Alternatively, create a wallet-sized card with your key choices so that you can review the card throughout the day.

3. Choosing to be positive after a divorce

Suppose you're among the many people whose marriage didn't work out. What choices could you employ to make the best of things, reduce stress, and move on in life?

I choose to maintain a healthy outlook about marriage and relationships.

I choose to easily and equitably divide our assets.

I choose to reflect on what I've learned.

I choose to feel good about my decision.

I choose to have cordial relations with my ex-spouse.

I choose to feel OK about being alone.

I choose to be an effective co-parent with my spouse.

I choose to feel good about moving on in life.

I choose to successfully remarry.

Choice is a deliberate action

Choosing is not the same as "positive thinking." You goal is to make choices all the time, independent of how you currently feel. You gain power by addressing what you want now, or how you want to feel now. By consistently making positive choices, you improve your outlook and broaden your horizons.