By Alan Penney (Guest Author) and Helen Zakour (Guest Author)
To understand what is meant by Lifestyle Medicine and the models understood to affect mental health, nutrition and exercise.
Lifestyle medicine? Do you mean the opportunity to skip-over-and-move-onto-something-else medicine?
Lifestyle medicine is on the rise and is fast spreading throughout the teaching agenda of the UK’s medical schools. In 2018, Leicester Medical School offically made it part of their curriculum. It is inevitable that other institutions will follow.
The purpose of this article is to cut out the waffle that topics related to the theme so often have. It promises to deliver what you need to know in a concise, efficient manner to aid as an invaluable revision tool.
We’ll begin by splitting the unit into four sub-sections.
Mental health. Exercise. Nutrition. Spirituality.
Let’s start with mental health.
Burnout – a state of mental and physical exhaustion related to work or care-giving activities
Mindfulness – paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a talking therapy that changes your relationship with negative thoughts, feelings and associations
Allostatic load – wear and tear on the body caused by prolonged stress
Motivational interviewing – motivation to change is elicited from the individual
Life as a doctor can be gruelling at the best of times. It is unsurprising that those in the medical profession are more likely than the general public to suffer from burnout and depression. This is especially alarming when you consider that this increases the risk of making medical errors by 6.2 fold.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law can be applied to an individual to determine the effect that stress has on performance. It is similar to the more widely known stress-performance curve.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law
Figure: The Yerkes Doson Law in graph form.
Public Domain Image
Mindfulness can be used as a tool to reduce stress and reach the optimum level of productivity.
The danger of sliding too far to the right of the curve is an increase in your allostatic load.
At the extreme end, an individual may have to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy or motivational interviewing.
A part of being productive involves setting goals. You can ensure that your goal is effective by following SMART.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attractive / appropriate
R – realistic
T – timely
By following SMART goals you’re minimising the risk of you relapsing, missing your intended target and going endlessly around the Prochaska DiClemente cycle of behavioural change.
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