Gratitude may be more beneficial than we think. A Kent State study assessed the health benefits of writing thank you notes and researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings and reduced symptoms of depression.
While the research into gratitude is relatively new, the principles involved are not.
Gratitude is a pillar in most of the worldâ€™s faith traditions. Catholic Jesuits have a tradition of reviewing every day with gratitude. The Quran recommends gratitude, saying â€śWhoever gives thanks benefits his own soul.â€ť Buddhists believe practicing gratitude leads to the direct experience of the interconnectedness of all life. Many of us give thanks before meals and â€ścount our blessings.â€ť
Studies like this one from Harvard support these teachings. Individuals who regularly engage in gratitude exercises, such as counting their blessings or expressing gratitude to others, exhibit increased satisfaction with relationships and fewer symptoms of physical illness
There are lots of possible explanations for such benefits. Expressing gratitude may encourage others to be generous, promoting a cycle of goodness in relationships. Similarly, grateful people may be more likely to respond with acts of kindness of their own. A community in which people feel grateful to one another is more likely to be a agreeable place to live.
So practicing a little gratitude can go a long way in not only making ourselves feel better, but uplifting others as well.
You didnâ€™t grit it through a decade or more of training to get mired in accounting. We get it. But dealing head-on with the profitability (or lack thereof) of your practice may seriously affect your professional sense of wellbeing. Altruism only puts food on the table for so long.
A good place to start is with yourself. Are you fairly compensated compared to other ophthalmologists? Check out these salary surveys. Are you within an acceptable range, or are you drifting to the lower end of the scale? Why? Are you plowing too much of your salary back into the practice? Are you staffed correctly? What part of your business is bleeding red ink?
This may sound counterintuitive or selfish, but you need to pay yourself first. Thatâ€™s how successful entrepreneurs do it. And like it or not, youâ€™re a member of the â€śEâ€ť club.
What part of your business is bleeding red ink?
Itâ€™s doubtful that you have the time to immerse yourself in the intricacies of a profit and loss statement. Thatâ€™s why accountants were created. A good one can determine if you are within industry ratios for expenses and revenues, and group your services into lines, like Cataract and LASIK surgery. Youâ€™ll have the information you need to direct your marketing for the best return, and to allocate your time to the most profitable parts of your practice. This helps you along by giving you data to inform decisions.
Staffing is the biggest expense of most ophthalmology practices, so work with your accountant to assess productivity. What is the role of every employee in contributing to profitability? At the very least, youâ€™ll gain insight into the types of employees who can grow your practice. You can be a compassionate and altruistic doctor and still enjoy the financial rewards of your work. So, if you donâ€™t have an accountant, you have time right now to hire one.
Personality tests are an excellent way to understand the behavior and social tendencies of your staff and yourself. Meyerâ€™s Briggs (MBT) is the gold standard of this genre, but it takes training to administer and interpret the result.
Fortunately, thereâ€™s a fast-food personality test thatâ€™s accurate and fast. Itâ€™s called BOLT (Bulls, Owls, Tigers and Lambs).
If youâ€™re a Bull, youâ€™re thinking, â€śwhat could this possibly have to do with my practice?â€ť Read the descriptions of the personality types below, and then weâ€™ll talk.
- Gets to the bottom line quickly
- Seeks control
- No frills, just facts
- Hard to convince
- Deep thinker
- Takes time to make a decision
- Slow to decide and often change their minds (high buyerâ€™s remorse)
- Understands your mistakes and feels badly about their mistakes
- Very emotional â€“ avoids conflict
- Security is more important than prestige and status
- Can be an introvert or an extrovert
- Hard to read feelings
- Not into details
- Fast to decide and is “messy messy”
- Wears feelings on the outside
By now, you probably have a trial snapshot of yourself, and some of your staff. There are numerous uses of this information, but first keep in mind that almost everyone has personality traits of each animal. For example,
- Donâ€™t be late for a meeting with an Owl
- Send your Tiger out for screenings and presentations
- A Bull will be useful in a crisis
- Lambs are great with patients
Bolt Download the BOLT test here. This is a great subject for a staff meeting. Let people share and see how you can put your newfound knowledge to work.
The demands of a high stress career can take a toll, and when you arenâ€™t able to recharge your batteries in your time off, burnout can set in. Studies have shown that hobbies and interests away from the office can help fend off burnout and help lead to a sense of fulfillment.
So what are the signs that you might be heading down the path to burnout?
- A perpetual feeling of exhaustion, both physical and emotional
- Forgetfulness or impaired concentration
- A reduced sense of accomplishment or feeling that you your work is meaningless
- Depersonalization or developing a cynical attitude toward patients and their concerns
- Increased illness
- Depression and/or anxiety
Fighting back against burnout can be as easy as developing an interest outside the office.
Hiking, running, golf or bicycling works for many who find physical activity enjoyable helps them reduce stress. Finding an artistic outlet such as painting, photography or woodcraft works for many as well. The important thing is to find something you enjoy, and that gives you a sense of accomplishment. And then making sure you set aside the time on a regular basis to engage in your chosen activity. The time you spend unwinding will pay dividends in the long run back in the office.
The biggest eye hazard most of face is staring at the computer screens for hours while binging on â€śFortnite.â€ť People who have real jobs have more intense eye safety needs. Workers in auto repair, construction, manufacturing, plumbing welding are among the most vulnerable to eye injuries.
Government regulations specify what types of eye protection should be worn, including shields and other safety measures. Not all businesses comply or enforce these standards.
SUBHEAD: Know your patientâ€™s eye safety needs
If youâ€™re not already, you might intervene with a few pointed questions about their occupation. Red flags to watch for:
Anyone working in an area that has particles or flying dust must wear safety glasses with side shields.
Patients who work with radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for those tasks.
Working around chemicals also requires wearing goggles.
Work with employers on eye safety practices
Your patients should know the requirements for their work environment. For example, side shields placed on your conventional glasses do not meet the OSHA requirement for most workplaces.
As an ophthalmologist or optometrist, you may also assist employers to assist in evaluating potential eye hazards in your workplace and be determining what type of eye protection may be needed.
This is serious business for patients and companies. OSHA estimates that there are 20,000 eye injuries a year. Together, they rack up a $300 million price tag for medical care, losses in productivity, legal and workers compensation.
Eye Safety Resources
Eye Safety from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Any doctor who has spent a day seeing patients knows that the repetitive motions and awkward postures are par for the course. But that time spent bending over equipment can lead to some pretty serious aches and pains by the end of the day. And those little aches and pains can lead to some pretty serious long-term musculoskeletal issues that can be temporarily or permanently debilitating.
Here are a few tips that can help prevent those little pains from becoming big ones.
- Pay attention to your posture throughout the day and try to keep your motions as ergonomic as you can.
- Be cognizant of your repetitive motions and try to vary them.
- Position equipment (and patients) with comfort in mind. Have your patients lean into you, rather than you to them.
- Invest in elbow rests where you need them. And wrist rests for your keyboard.
- Take time to stretch.
- When operating, consider standing versus sitting. And invest in anti-fatigue mats for anywhere youâ€™ll be standing for long periods of time.
- When purchasing new equipment, keep ergonomics in mind.
Remember that those little motions, while only lasting a moment at a time, can build up over the course of the day, weeks, and months, making for lasting effects over a career.