Mindfulness is essential for healthcare administrators to manage stress and improve decision-making. It involves cultivating an awareness of the present moment with an open, nonjudgmental attitude and curiosity.
Mindfulness can help healthcare admins cultivate a focused, clear headspace amidst busy schedules and high-stress environments by focusing on nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. It can provide them with the clarity to make the best choices for their teams, the tools to deal with stress more productively, and a greater sense of overall well-being.
Additionally, mindfulness-based practices such as meditation, breathwork, and body scans can easily be incorporated into any workflow, making a big difference to a healthcare admin’s wellbeing.
What is mindfulness?
When work is stressful, it is easy for healthcare workers to become overwhelmed. This is not a personal failing, but rather a very human consequence of unrelenting pressure in already high-pressure industries.
When an individual is overwhelmed, they stop thinking as clearly as they usually do and can quickly lose track of the bigger picture. Perspectives become skewed and it is often difficult to function at all.
In a nutshell, mindfulness is the art of taking frustration and worry and reacting to it consciously. Instead of merely dealing with the consequences of stress and frustration, mindfulness allows people to actively acknowledge and respond to triggers.
That response, for example, might be to realize that nothing can be done about the issue beyond recognizing its existence until later. Sometimes reframing perspectives can make all the difference here in allowing individuals to hide away their frustration or concern until they are better able to deal with it away from work.
Components of mindfulness
Here are the components of mindfulness.
- Separation from thoughts
Separation from thoughts can enable healthcare administrators to be conscious of their ideas and feelings without judgment or connection. This consciousness allows them to detect faulty thought processes, discarding unhelpful mental habits, and ultimately create an augmented experience of meditative serenity, endurance, and clarity.
Separating from thoughts also helps healthcare administrators to hone their decision-making skills and communicate more proficiently with clients, associates, and colleagues.
Insightful thinking can support administrators in cultivating greater self-consideration, paying attention to the present moment instead of being wary about the future or contemplating the past, and being more aware of their desires and inclinations.
By being more current and responsive to their own mental and physical experiences, administrators will have the tools to make choices that benefit their organization.
Through internal reflection, healthcare administrators can become more aware and alert to their emotions and thus better navigate intricate feelings more expediently. This can bolster their associations with patients and colleagues by producing a more profound awareness of comprehension and trust.
Furthermore, self-observation can assist healthcare administrators in distinguishing, directing, and expressing their feelings, enabling them to make more intelligent decisions and cope more adeptly with trying scenarios.
Moreover, it can lead to increased self-reflection and enhanced self-regulation, which is fundamental for healthcare administrators to implement and uphold effective procedures and communication.
- Acceptance of emotions
Acknowledging emotions energizes healthcare leaders to perceive and regulate the broad range of feelings they might encounter in the work environment to manage them constructively and satisfactorily. Acknowledging different feelings enables administrators to bond with their colleagues more profoundly, deal with intricate emotions, and boost emotional intelligence in the work environment.
Mindful acceptance of emotions also helps to minimize worry, boost problem-solving, and nurture work relationships with others. By learning to recognize and accept emotions without probing or shunning, healthcare administrators can become better protectors of their emotional health, as well as the emotional wellbeing of their team.
- Present moment
Present-moment awareness focuses on the here and now rather than worrying about the past or future. This habit can be advantageous to healthcare administrators who are continually besieged with different activities that require them to multitask and strategize for the subsequent days.
By remaining in the present moment, healthcare administrators can concentrate on the job, better make informed decisions, and plan. Furthermore, this habit can decrease pressure levels, allowing them to approach duties more clearly. Ultimately, this practice can support healthcare administrators to handle their workload more effectively and improve their overall wellbeing.
Benefits of mindfulness in healthcare administration
There are many reasons mindfulness is important in healthcare. Perhaps the most important of them is the increased quality of care patients receive from happy, health providers. This extends to administrators, who have an easier time seeing creative solutions when they are not overwhelmed by something else. The improvement in employee health is worth noting, too, as learning to healthily manage stressful situations is an important life skill.
Those researching career paths before entering university should begin learning mindfulness as soon as possible. Students can practice mindfulness throughout their studies, whether they are working towards an executive MBA in healthcare management or are interested in nursing or primary care. By taking an online course, such as this executive MBA, students can broaden their skills in healthcare management. This will teach them how to lead employees and support them, how to be resourceful, and how effective management can work.
The right degree program can help to develop this skill and set students up for success later in life. It is wise to pick a university with a history of successful graduates behind it.
The course linked above by the University of Ottawa, for example, is a great choice for anyone interested in pursuing an MBA.
Tips for practicing mindfulness while working in healthcare
Some people ignore mindfulness because they believe that it equates to lengthy breaks full of meditation, but that is not necessarily the case at all. Mindfulness can make their job a lot easier if they give it a chance.
While taking a break is always good for overall health and focus, practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking deep breaths while working. Healthcare workers can spend as much or as little time on it as they want, and stand to benefit either way.
With that in mind, here are some ways one can practice mindfulness while working in healthcare:
Anyone who has ever been caught up in a stressful moment might know how hard it can be to think clearly. It is normal to feel rushed in these situations, but it is important to manage that feeling by being as calm as can be so that any decision made is as objective as possible. The STOP technique can be a big help here.
The STOP technique consists of four separate actions — each of them designed to help find a bit of calmness in the eye of the storm:
- Stop: Pause, even if just for a moment, regardless of how overwhelmed one feels.
- Take a breath: Spend a moment focusing on breathing. Feel the air as it rushes in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Observe: What is the source of the worry? Spend a moment assessing the situation, be it internal or external.
- Proceed: Go back to work. It should be easier to focus now, and it will be less likely that mistakes or emotional decisions will be made.
The STOP method only takes a few seconds to complete, and it can have a big impact on one’s day. The next time one finds themself rushing through a bout of panic and trying to get ten things done at once, it is best to STOP to gain bit more control over the situation.
Meditation was briefly mentioned above, but only via the common misconception that it takes a long time to perform. In reality, it can take as much or as little time as one has to spend on it. Consider the process similar to the STOP method, just a bit longer in duration. Take a deep breath and focus on the surroundings. Other thoughts and worries will come to mind but push them away if possible and focus instead on the environment. Is the AC on? Is that the smell of someone’s lunch from the breakroom? Is that the sound of students chattering as they study?
Continue this for as long as the spare time allows, but preferably for at least five minutes. After completing this process, one will go back to work calmer and better able to break down their tasks into independent activities they can tackle one-by-one.
Engage in mindful listening
Mindful listening enables an administrator to concentrate on the individual or their actions without judgment or preconceived beliefs. Instead of focusing on internal thoughts or anxieties, administrators can fully engage with the patient or task at hand.
Mindful listening calls for pragmatic listening abilities that allow individuals to assess both spoken and non-verbal feedback, utilize eye contact and body movement, and careful communication. This technique leads to genuine listening, developing deeper understanding. Practicing mindful listening helps administrators become more conscious of their ideas, feelings, and emotions to better comprehend those of their patients.
Mindful listening likewise allows practitioners to be concise and intentional with their communication. Taking the time to listen with purpose, rather than thinking about their response, will permit administrators to better recognize what someone is communicating. This motivates enhanced individual care and interaction with increased empathy and self-awareness.
Connect with nature
Contemplating nature, such as the visuals, sounds, and fragrant phenomena of the environment outside the workplace, can help administrators to relax and center themselves. Moreover, spending a few moments to appreciate nature’s beauty can bolster thankfulness and a fondness for life.
Exciting the senses can be ideal for building mindfulness while exposed to nature. Noticing the colors, texture, and aroma of the greenery or tuning in to the birdsong and the air whistling through the leaves can be a straightforward and soothing practice. Additionally, time spent outdoors can revitalize and provide relief from the stressors of a healthcare work environment.
When engaging in nature to practice mindfulness, it is essential to be conscious of the beauty and tranquility of the natural world. Inviting gratefulness for the present moment can aid in elevating mental health while advancing self-awareness and calm.
The next technique to keep in mind is simple: breathing. It really is that simple. Take a few deep breaths and gain some perspective on the current stressors. Consider taking three minutes and regulating the breath as follows:
- First minute: One should focus on the emotions, sensations and thoughts they experience as they think about their current state and the source of worry.
- Second minute: Continue these thoughts while practicing deep breathing. It might help to breathe in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, release the breath over four seconds, and then hold it for four seconds before starting the process over again. Adjust the timing as needed.
- Third minute: Focus entirely on the breaths. Think about how they feel and what they do to the body as one inhales and exhales.
The point is to be mindful of one’s thoughts and emotions while also bringing things into perspective and providing some time to breathe (literally).
One thing to keep in mind here is that when breathing is discussed in any of these tips, this does not refer to normal breathing, but mindful breaths. These are breaths one feels themself taking, from the inhale to the exhale. It is a slower kind of breathing that offers a bigger opportunity to attune to one’s surroundings.
Finally, we recommend practicing gratitude at work, even when stressed and overwhelmed. In fact, it is especially important when one is stressed and overwhelmed. Practicing gratitude allows people to dwell on the kind things others have done for them as well as the positive impact they have on their life. Taking some time to think positively about life is a good way to calm the nerves and gain some mental space to control emotions.
Mindfulness practice can be very rewarding in all walks of life. It is especially useful for healthcare administrators overrun by the stressors of interacting with many people in many departments. As a healthcare administrator, it could be helpful to keep the above tips in mind while moving through the day. These pointers are sure to help people feel a bit better even in the worst of times.