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We might marvel at the resilience of the physical human body and systematically study how the body responds to a stimulus or stress. The mind is a little more difficult to understand. It is assumed that high performing students can power through a psychological stress in a way that might never be expected of the body. Much of the time we get away with that explanation, but most often it leads to an outcome that leaves a person emotionally exhausted, detached, distant, cynical, or unempathetic. Being honest with ourselves and recognizing when we need to be attentive to our own well-being is an important step in reaching balance in our lives.

Here are a few simple tips, strategies, and techniques that we can do to win back the balance in our lives by BUILDING RESILIENCE.

BALANCE TIP of the day: Be efficient with your time. When we procrastinate, the task often grows in our minds until it seems insurmountable. So when you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next. Give yourself small rewards upon each completion, whether it’s a five minute break or a walk to the coffee shop. If you feel overwhelmed by routines that seem unnecessary, talk with work/study colleagues about it and eliminate. The less time you spend doing busy work or procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends or family.

STRESS TOOL of the day: DIAPHRAGMATIC ROLL BREATHING. Place one hand on your abdomen. On the inhalation, your hand should follow the expansion of your belly. Inhale...expand belly...Roll the air up into your chest. Follow the air with your hand. Exhale. On the exhalation, follow the air out of your mouth, then slide your hand back to your abdomen. Focus your attention on the movement of your hand. If difficult to feel the belly expansion while sitting, try lying down or positioned on hands and knees.

BRAIN FOOD of the day: BEETS. Betaine, an amino acid naturally present in certain vegetables, particularly beetroot, is an antidepressant of the first order. Betaine acts as a stimulant for the production of SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine). The body cannot function appropriately without SAM-e, which it produces.

LEARNING STRATEGY of the day: Use ELABORATION techniques. Consciously relate new material to old. How does the medical school curriculum build upon the academic foundation already established? Know your science.

PERSONALITY TYPOLOGY of the day: INTROVERSION. Prefers to work alone. Can concentrate for long periods of time. Sets personal standards. May delay actions to think until too late to complete. Prefers quiet, uninterrupted study site. Prefers in-depth treatment of activities or ideas. Able to follow through until completion of long-term tasks. 

Up next….Working your way through anxiety in order to serve and care.

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Karen Acquilano

Karen Acquilano

Karen Acquilano has been a professional educator for 27 years as teacher, counselor, and researcher specializing in well-being and learning skills. She has been working the last seven years specifically with medical students and physicians on the challenges they face. She strives to encourage much needed attention to the mental and emotional well-being of those who are devoting their lives to caring for others. Karen is a practitioner of neuro-meditation, aroma therapy, and Tai Chi. Her approach to helping others is to encourage self-awareness, offer options and suggestions, and allow others to discover their own styles and ways of achieving well-being and balance in their lives and in their work for better focus, memory, resilience, wisdom, and relationships.
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