Jeff Thoren, DVM, PCC, BCC
Our human tendency can be to focus on the problems, become anxious, and react from a place of fear. However, when we are in this reactive state, we are less likely to be creative, adaptable, and resourceful. We see fewer options for positive action and are less capable of seeing possible solutions to problems.
A simple shift in perspective can help us slow down, see things more objectively, and make choices from a foundation of strength and neutrality.
Two resources veterinary professionals can use to manage the stressors we are all facing today are the STOP Practice and the GRACE Trail:
The STOP Practice
This 4-step mindfulness practice1 can support members of the veterinary team during difficult moments throughout the day. This practice is helpful for noting intense feelings and setting them aside with the intention of reflecting on them more deeply at a later time.
Literally stop what you’re doing, whether it is typing or rushing out the door. Give yourself a moment to come to rest, pause, and collect yourself.
Take a Breath
After pausing, take a conscious breath or two, allowing yourself to feel the expansion of the belly as you breathe deeply. Notice the sensations of being here, now. As you do so, it may help to bring your attention to the sensations of your feet meeting the floor. Feel the support of the ground and of your own relaxing breath as you do so. Conscious breathing is an effective way to calm the impact of your body’s normal “fight or flight” stress response.
Observe any thoughts, emotions, or bodily sensations (eg, tension, butterflies, tightness in the jawline). Broaden your awareness to take in the circumstances. Notice how you can be in this situation without being ruled by it. Release tension, stressful thoughts, and any judgment of yourself or the situation.
Proceed with intentionality, taking the next step in your day from this place of strength, wisdom, and presence.
The GRACE Trail
This 5-step process2 begins with gratitude and ends with hope.
Gratitude – What Am I Grateful For?
Release – What Do I Need to Release?
Consider what is currently causing stress in your life. What is within your control? What is outside your control? Release is about letting go of things that you cannot control or that are not serving you and, instead, focusing on what you can control and creating new possibilities.
Accept – What Is Calling Out for Acceptance?
Acceptance requires you to stop fighting battles you cannot win. Act only after acceptance, and work with your circumstance, not against it.
Challenge – What Is My Next Challenge?
Make a commitment to step outside your comfort zone to grow.
Embrace – What Can I Embrace as Possible?
The GRACE model concludes with an opportunity for you to invite your imagination into the conversation and for you to summon hope.
Intentionally using the STOP Practice and the GRACE Trail, either as an individual or collectively as a veterinary team, can help the team develop resilience and build a culture of well-being.
For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.
All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.
Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.