Mindfulness to Reduce Stress in Healthcare Workers

Mindfulness is a practice that can help manage stress. This is why it's particularly recommended for healthcare personnel as well as for those experiencing work-related stress. Are you ready to learn more about it?
Mindfulness to Reduce Stress in Healthcare Workers
Elisa Martin Cano

Written and verified by the doctor Elisa Martin Cano.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Mindfulness is great for reducing stress, which hat is a big problem for healthcare workers. You may not be aware of it, but the number of people afflicted by stress is on the rise. The pressure and overload of work these workers must endure means many of them are in a situation of constant work and personal stress.

For this reason, specialists are constantly seeking measures to improve this problem as much as possible. Mindfulness is one of the options proposed. This practice aims to provide tools with which people can be aware of their thoughts. This way, they can analyze them and be able to manage certain emotions.

What are its contributions to healthcare personnel, though?

Well, we’ll detail what mindfulness consists of below and also how it can contribute to better mental health for this type of worker.

Read on to learn more!

What’s mindfulness?

A woman meditating.
Mindfulness is a practice that can help manage stress and other negative emotions.

Mindfulness is a psychological concept that’s about being fully aware of the present moment. This includes your thoughts, sensations, environment, emotions, stimuli, and so on. It only consists of paying attention. This is because it has to do with not trying to judge, interpret, or justify what you’re going through.

The practice is basically a series of exercises of meditation, breathing, and even yoga. It all aims to reach a heightened state of consciousness.

Furthermore, it’s a pragmatic conception of traditional meditation with the simple objective of improving the quality of life of anyone who practices it. Note that mindfulness isn’t linked to any religious or philosophical dogma.

Stress in healthcare workers

The work demands of health personnel, the pressure to which they’re subjected, and the responsibility that befalls them make them some of the most stressed-out workers. The consequence is burnout syndrome, already considered an occupational hazard.

What this means is they’re emotionally exhausted and lose motivation because they don’t feel they can attain personal fulfillment. It manifests with mood, metabolism, and cardiovascular alterations.

Apart from being one of the most affected groups, this occupational disease also interferes with the clinical practice of healthcare personnel. Thus, a healthcare worker afflicted with this syndrome may express it in several ways. One of these is difficulty in handling the intense emotions of their patients, and even of their colleagues. The consequence is they might make mistakes.

It can also lead to emotional blunting, the loss of the ability to identify their own feelings, or those of their patients or colleagues. As you can imagine, it leads to a lack of empathy, which also manifests as a poorer bedside manner and discomfort for everyone.

How can mindfulness help?

A woman and a girl with a doctor.
The practice of mindfulness by healthcare workers can help improve their moods. In turn, it improves their decision-making and they take better care of their patients.

As we explained above, this practice aims to achieve a high state of self-awareness. Continued training in mindfulness, perfecting the techniques, and reaching this state could be a favorable influence on the state of mind and the work of healthcare personnel.

There’s much improvement in the emotional state of a person who reaches a high state of self-awareness. There’s also a feeling of well-being, better control of their emotions and those of other people, and increased satisfaction with life.

Consequently, it helps health care personnel better exercise their profession when dealing with patients. They won’t be as stressed, will be nicer to their patients and colleagues, and make better decisions. The work environment, in general, will be more pleasant for all.

Is this practice only good for healthcare workers?

Not necessarily. The practice of mindfulness is good for anyone, whether they have work-related stress problems or not. The objective will always be the same, and the benefits apply to any individual willing to do it.

Finally, consult an experienced professional in these techniques for a more enriching practice.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Academic Mindfulness Interest Group M, Academic Mindfulness Interest Group M. Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapies: A Review of Conceptual Foundations, Empirical Evidence and Practical Considerations. Aust New Zeal J Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;40(4):285–94.
  • ¿Qué es Mindfulness? [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 27]. Available from: https://www.mindfulness-salud.org/mindfulness/que-es-mindfulness/
  • Mindfulness-based psychotherapies: a review of conceptual foundations, empirical evidence and practical considerations: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry: Vol 40, No 4 [Internet]. [cited 2020 Mar 2]. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/j.1440-1614.2006.01794.x
  • Laneri D, Schuster V, Dietsche B, Jansen A, Ott U, Sommer J. Effects of Long-Term Mindfulness Meditation on Brain’s White Matter Microstructure and its Aging. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;7:254. Published 2016 Jan 14. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00254

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.