Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physician, Heal Thyself. (Guest Editorial)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physician, Heal Thyself. (Guest Editorial)

Article excerpt

The year 2002 was not a great one for most of us. Our nation spent most of the year coming to terms with the World Trade Center massacre and subsequent worldwide hunt for terrorists. On the economic front, the NASDAQ has lost 75% of its value in the past 2 years. Some of our colleagues have lost a large portion of their life savings. But as we come to the end of a rather nasty year, let's focus on the fact that there have always been cycles of good times and bad times. Things will certainly get better, hopefully soon.

Here are two pearls to ponder while waiting for things to turn around. Happy New Year!

* Doctor, you need a hobby.

What is your hobby? Strangely when I ask doctors this question they often tell me that their son collects stamps or that their daughter plays soccer. These are interesting responses but clearly do not answer the question.

What would your answer be? What do you collect? What instrument do you play? No, I didn't ask what your son collects or what you used to collect 20 years ago or what instrument you played in high school or what sport your daughter plays. If you don't have at least one hobby, then you don't know what you're missing.

One of my colleagues is an expert on historic presidential campaign buttons; another climbs the highest mountains in the world. I collect vintage calculators and dabble in astronomy. None of these hobbies has anything to do with medicine--that's the point. Perhaps the single best thing you can do for your mental health is to find and enjoy a hobby that really excites you. If you'd like to have some fun, but are far too busy to do so, please read the next pearl.

* Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Several prominent psychologists have pointed out that hard-driving professionals, including most physicians, tend to live their lives as if life were only a practice run. …

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