The Now! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 31

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better...

On this episode, Jeff welcomes back Karla McLaren, our Healthy Empathy expert to the mini-podcast. Karla shares with us her concerns about the level of compassion fatigue and burnout in our healthcare system. She indicates that a big part of the problem is the emotion work we do day-in and day-out, as well as the lack of acknowledgement we pay to this type of work.

So what can we do?

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Karla suggests we bring cognitive awareness to the situation and the work we’re doing.

Here are three steps to bring a mindful, cognitive pause to your emotional work:


Step 1 - Get in the Moment: Stop what you are doing (no matter how briefly). Allow yourself to acknowledge your emotion.
Step 2 - Name the Emotion: Use an adjective to name the emotion you are experiencing.
Step 3 - See What You’re Doing: Add a breath and allow your mind to process the moment - “The Now!”


Most importantly, adding this cognitive pause brings increased awareness to the emotion work we do and gives us another tool to hopefully prevent or manage burnout.

If you’re not familiar with Karla McLaren, M.Ed, she is an award-winning author and social science researcher. Her lifelong work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics, LLC. Karla is also the author of The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill (2013), The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You (2010), and the multimedia online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions (2012).

The Now is a perfect example of how surgeons can improve their effectiveness inside and outside of the OR.

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