F.A.Q: The Benefits of Conscious Health Meditation
(for meditation lovers and skeptics alike)
1. What if the course if one more thing I’ll pay for and not follow through?
Conscious Health Meditation is so easy to do, and feels so good, that you’ll LOOK FORWARD to meditating each day. Plus, I provide a LIFETIME OF SUPPORT AND FOLLOW UP to each of my students (at two different tiers) to meet their accountability needs.
2. My mind is too busy to meditate. Will meditation work for me?
Everyone’s mind is busy! Why? Because that’s what the mind does: it has thoughts, just like the heart beats. You are very special and unique, but your mind’s constant thinking is NOT unique. You can absolutely meditate; you just haven’t tried the right technique yet! Here are some testimonials from other doctors who have learned Conscious Health Meditation.
3. How can I meditate if I can’t clear my mind of thoughts?
No one can clear their mind of thoughts, because it’s not possible (see #2)! Most forms of meditation you may have been exposed to, particularly mindfulness, requires focus and concentration, with a preference towards a certain focus (your breath, a mantra, your body, or compassion). Mindfulness is powerful, but it goes against the grain of our mind’s natural tendency toward thoughts. With Conscious Health Meditation, we actually want our minds to wander. It feels so good because we are finally able to stop fighting what our minds do naturally.
4. I’m not woo-woo or spiritual. Is meditation a religion?
Conscious Health Meditation is, at its core, a scientifically-proven stress-reduction technique that maximizes the parasympathetic nervous system. It complements all religions and belief systems, including a lack of religion or spiritual beliefs! And it doesn’t require that you change anything about yourself, your diet, or your beliefs. When I first learned, I was as non-spiritual, skeptical, Type-A, and non-woo-woo as it gets. And I still was able to correctly meditate immediately and get incredible results quickly (I lost my road rage in 3 weeks).
5. I’m not burned out, it’s moral injury. Why should I learn to meditate just so ‘the system’ can put more responsibility on me?
Whatever the cause of your unhappiness at work, ask yourself: am I content to stay this unhappy, or do I want to do something about it? When will ‘the system’ change enough to relieve your stress at work? Who or what is ‘the system’, and who is in charge of changing it? How do you find joy in your life and provide the best care possible to your patients in the meantime? Conscious Health Meditation is your life raft in a flood. It will help you manage your reactivity, stress, and overwhelm, while at the same time freeing up your mental energy to come up with creative solutions to fix the broken healthcare system. This is YOUR life. Yes, the system needs to change. But how long are you content to stay unhappy and angry (and unhealthy) waiting for it to get better?
6. My biggest problem isn’t burnout, it’s fatigue and lack of sleep. Can meditation help me with my fatigue?
Absolutely! In the Conscious Health Meditation technique, you easily (yes, even you!) access a physiologically-distinct meditative state that is up to 5 times more restful than sleep. Because it maximizes parasympathetic function, it gives your body a break from the sleep-disrupting fight-or-flight stress chemicals such as cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline, and it bathes your body in restorative chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, DHEA-S, and endogenous opioids. The meditations themselves are extremely restful and restorative, and you will also find yourself sleeping more restfully as well.
7. I’m too busy to meditate. How will I ever find the time?
That’s just the stress talking! Everyone thinks they are too busy to meditate, but in actuality, we all have the time to meditate. How much time do you spend on social media each day, or surfing the web, or stressing about how busy you are? How many times do you hit snooze each morning? The time is always there if you make it a priority.
Conscious Health Meditation also makes you more efficient, so that you are able to get more done in less time. The time you invest in your twice-daily meditations is returned to you, and then some, with less time staring bleary-eyed at your EMR, hitting the wall with grant-writing and academic projects, or spending precious time in meetings where no one is clear-headed or creative enough to solve any problems. Check out this blog post about the culture of busy-ness.
8. I’m ADD and can’t sit still long enough to meditate. How will I be able to sit for 20 minutes?
No one actually thinks they are capable of meditating for 20 minutes until they take the course and are easily meditating 20 minutes twice a day by the 2nd (out of 4 total) sessions. This is because Conscious Health Meditation is unlike any other type of meditation you’ve tried before. You don’t have to control your mind or clear your mind of thoughts. You actually want your mind to run rampant. And you always sit comfortably when you practice, so if you are fidgety, you can change positions. If you have an itch, you scratch it. The goal: use as little effort as possible. When you stop trying, the time flies by.
9. Can meditation help solve the problems in the healthcare system?
See number 5 above. I believe it can. Why? Because as Einstein said, we can’t solve our problems using the same thinking that created them. Conscious Health Meditation rewires the way your brain processes stress and activates the right side of your brain, so it frees up brain power to improve creativity and problem solving. Happier, more well-rested, less reactive, more creative, more compassionate doctors are better problem solvers and are able to more effectively advocate for themselves.
10. Meditation is for hippies and crazy patients. Why do doctors need to meditate?
Look at the pictures on this website. Do you see anyone in a meadow, with the sun setting behind them, and their hair flowing in the wind? Absolutely not! The pictures of people practicing Conscious Health Meditation, are, well, kind of boring! Conscious Health Meditation is a stress-reduction technique that works for absolutely everyone. You practice it sitting comfortably, with your back supported, in your office, your home, or your car. It provides a huge range of benefits, from high-performance, to stress reduction, to better sleep, to less anxiety, to less chronic pain and stress-related disease. Do you, as a healthcare professional, have stress? Do you have anxiety about your patients, or your performance as a doctor, or your family? Do you want to sleep better? The answer is likely yes. Doctors are people too. Meditation helps all of us.
11. Running is my meditation.
Running is a lot of things, but it is most definitely not your meditation! It is good for your fitness level and general health, and it can help you get out of your monkey mind (while you are moving), which are all good things. But Conscious Health Meditation allows you to access a scientifically verifiable meditative state that is up to 5 times more restful than sleep. That deep rest allows your body to repair the damage done to your body from stress over a lifetime. So, until you are able to figure out how to go for a run without using any effort, while sitting comfortably and allowing your body to attain deep rest, you will continue to get a separate set of benefits from running as you do from meditation.
12. Will I be any good at it? I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it.
See #10 above. No one actually thinks they’ll be able to do it until they actually learn. Why? Because the meditation that most people are exposed to (in a large conference room at a mandatory “Physician Wellness” event, with 15 patients waiting for you, when you are told to ‘clear your mind’ of your thoughts and stresses) is extremely challenging and unrewarding. Meditation, using the technique I teach, is easy and restorative. Here are some testimonials from other doctors who have learned the technique.
13. I have small kids, how will I be able to fit it in?
See #7 above. Everyone has the time, no matter how busy they think they are. There are special techniques for new parents (and people who work 24+ hour shifts), which allow them to better fit the meditation into smaller pockets of time. In addition, part of the course instruction is detailed information on how to fit Conscious Health Meditation into your daily routine, including how to set boundaries with kids, pets, and other people in your life. Meditation is not selfish; by taking the time to make yourself a happier, less reactive version of yourself, you are setting an extremely positive example for your children.
14. If meditation helps with burnout, why did you stop practicing medicine?
This is a wonderful question. I learned to meditate in 2011 when I was suffering from profound burnout. I was crying every day. I felt the effects of Conscious Health Meditation almost immediately. I stopped needing to go to the spa to unwind, because, honestly, I felt that I had all of that relaxation within me all the time. I thrived at my academic hospitalist job after I learned to meditate. My interpersonal relationships with my colleagues improved significantly, I was better able to listen to my patients, and I became a better teacher and mentor to my trainees. I was promoted to Director of Education for the division of hospital medicine, and I thrived in that role, creating several new programs and presenting at national conferences.
When I first decided to become a meditation teacher, I thought I’d come back to my hospitalist job part-time and spend the other part of my time teaching meditation. I worked as an academic hospitalist for 4 more years after I learned to meditate. The reason I left my job was not because I wanted to or needed to leave medicine, but because I had an opportunity to move overseas for personal reasons. After several months overseas, and then 3 months on my teacher training in India, I decided I wanted to commit myself full-time to teaching this incredible practice to healthcare professionals, in order to prevent the severe burnout I had experienced.
15. Can meditation actually help with burnout?
Absolutely. Is it the only answer? No. Are there different causes of burnout for different people? Yes. Is the system still broken? Yes. That said, Conscious Health Meditation most definitely can help prevent or manage burnout and increase resilience. The practice is so restful, and helps to repair so much damage done from stress over your lifetime, that it stockpiles what is called Adaptation Energy. Adaptation Energy is your bank account of patience, and if you have enough of it, you can handle anything that life throws at you. This concept blew my mind, and was my ‘aha’ moment when I learned to meditate. I highly recommend you watch this video about Adaptation Energy.