Burn-out… what is the silver bullet?

We’ve been knee deep in 2020 for eleven months now. Describing the last eight using the words “dumpster fire” would not be ALL wrong. The last year has left many of us, myself included at times, feeling symptoms of burn out.

So what’s the magic bullet? Gratitude.

There is a well documented link between gratitude and happiness. In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2003 a study was published by Drs. Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough in which they divided a group of participants into three groups. All three were instructed to write weekly diary entries for 10 weeks. One group was told to focus on what they were grateful for, a second group was to focus on annoyances and a third could write on whatever topic they chose.

At the end of the 10 weeks those in the gratitude group reported feeling more positive about life as a whole, more optimistic about the coming week, had fewer physical symptoms and had spent more time exercising than those in the other two groups.

More than HALF of U.S. physicians say they are struggling with burn out! What if all it takes for those of us experiencing burn out symptoms is to retrain our focus?

How do we begin to cultivate gratitude?

A focus on gratitude can be cultivated in several ways, here are a few examples:

  • Write a thank you note. If your role as “the boss” is increasingly causing you stress and feelings of burnout pick one thing each day and write your team member a thank you note at the end of the day. Have a small team? Do one a week being sure to choose a different employee each week.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. This is a great way to place more focus on gratitude every day. Jot down three things each morning that you feel grateful for: one in the past, one in the present and one in the future.
  • Count your blessings. Make a list at the end of every day that includes 5 things you are grateful for. It must be 5 every day and you can’t repeat the same one two days in a row. This forces you to look beyond the obvious things you can feel thankful about.

There is no better time that the start of November to focus more on gratefulness. The increase in positive feelings can not only help you battle the burn out many of us have been experiencing but can also spill over into better relationships, a more engaged team, and when gratitude is practiced with patients and customers a better bottom line.

I’ll be sharing my own gratefulness practice this month in my Instagram and Facebook stories and I would love you to join me. Start by writing down how you are feeling right now. Do you feel burnt out? Depressed? Unhappy with your team?

Then join me in focusing daily on gratitude using one of the methods I mentioned for the month of November!

Here’s to feeling grateful, happy and healthy!

XO,

Sam

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