“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
It’s official – summer has come to a close! (At least in our parts of the world). We welcome autumn and the change of seasons it brings. We find that this time of year is a time for reflection for us. A time we often reflect back over the year and look ahead to what the remainder of the year will bring. How about for you? On the note of fall and reflection, we’re sharing a favorite pic from Scotland in September a few years back with a beautiful reflection of the Highlands in one of the lochs. It’s an image imprinted in our minds! (You can learn more about our perspective on “imprinting” happy memories here.)
TODAY’S WORD IS COMPASSION
One topic we think it’s particularly important to reflect on is COMPASSION. Compassion as a healthcare professional with your clients. Compassion towards others you encounter. Compassion towards yourself. With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we’re reminded of the impact of compassion. She was someone who had a strong sense of compassion while working to serve the people, a champion for equal rights in all areas of life.
On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your level of compassion towards your clients? To others you encounter? To yourself?
BENEFITS OF COMPASSION
Evidence suggests that there are actually physical benefits to practicing compassion. People who practice compassion produce less of the “stress hormone” cortisol, experience greater happiness (and thus impart happiness to those around them), and even appear to produce more of a hormone that counteracts the aging process. Good stuff all the way around!
The key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice.
Compassion can be expressed in many ways; in small acts of kindness, when working with teams at work by respecting everyone’s opinion, and by supporting people with diabetes in their choices.
4 COMPASSION PRACTICES FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
Reflect on recent interactions you have had with your clients with diabetes, and your level of compassion. Compassion in attitude, language, and interactions are core in solution-focused practice. It’s easy to become so focused on delivering pertinent recommendations, in constrained amounts of time, that compassion may unintentionally fall to the way-side.
In evolving to solution-focused practice, here are 4 different compassion practices that you can perhaps incorporate in interactions with clients:
1 – Greet each morning with a compassion frame of mind. Take a couple of minutes each morning to focus your mindset on being compassionate. Keep a note where you’ll see it with affirmations to practice, such as, “Today I am alive. I am going to make the most of it and not waste it. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get frustrated or think badly about others. I am going to be compassionate to others as much as I can.”
2 – Practice empathy. Many believe they have empathy, and on some level nearly all of us do. But many times we get so side-tracked in the client encounter that we may let our sense of empathy slide. In client interactions, try to imagine the challenges, stress or pain they are going through, in as much detail as possible. This moment of mindfulness can help change perspective in attitude, language, and the overall interaction.
3- Recognize what you have in common. Try to identify something that you may have in common or have experienced when the client is in front of you. At the root of it all, we are all human beings. We need recognition for hard work done. We need caring. We need happiness.
4- Practice acts of kindness. Practice doing something small each day to make life happier for someone else, even in a tiny way. Imagine that you are the person in front of you, dealing with diabetes challenges on top of routine life stuff. Maybe the act of kindness is a simple smile, a kind word, or just spending a few minutes talking about life (outside of diabetes) with the other person. Find a way to make it a daily throughout-the-day practice.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
These compassion practices we’ve shared can be done most anytime, anywhere. Greeting each morning with a compassion frame of mind, can help set the stage for interactions during the day.
EACH WEEK WE INVITE READERS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE… This week, we encourage you, at the end of each day, consider taking a few minutes to reflect on your day. Maybe it’s during a commute home, while taking a walk, while fixing dinner, or while getting ready for bed. Think about the people you met and talked to, and how you treated each other. Think about the intent that you started the morning with. How well did you do? What could you do better? What did you learn from your experiences today?
Try acting with compassion until you are good at it. With practice, compassion can become an integral part of interactions that you can do throughout the day, throughout life.
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Deb is an employee of Dexcom but all comments are her own.