In my talk in Charleston a little more than a week ago, I spoke about a four-part prescription to help medical students avoid burnout. Well, although burnout affects medical students more than other similar-aged young adults, it is a threat for us all. One element of the prescription involves mindfulness, which involves stopping what you’re doing, and doing what your mother surely yelled at you to do many times when you were a child, especially in church, or at other boring formal events. Funny how smart my mom seems now, all these years later.
Taking time out is good for you. It can be hard to discipline yourself to do this, but whether you choose to meditate or just chill, downshifting is essential to well-being. The title of my new book, Back Side Of A Hurricane, came to me one day while I was listening to a radio program about hurricanes. The idea that the wind blows north to south as the hurricane crosses the east coast, and then south to north on the back side, as the eye passes, struck me as somehow profound, and as I pondered it, I imagined that theoretically, everything blown away could be set right once again. That was a kernel of an idea that led me to research hurricanes, and when I discovered that they derive their strength not from driving forward, but rather from sitting still, I knew I had a theme—there is often great wisdom in sitting still when your life seems chaotic. All I needed was a story to go with it, and now I have one. Hope you like it.