Who Got the Funk? 9 Things Therapists (Physicians) Can Do When They Want To Feel Happier

I borrowed this article I found floating around social media and adapted it to not just therapists, but all in the helping professions. Not talking about virus-induced funk, but that dreaded “blah,” “feel like $H%T,” or burn out feeling. Call it the funk or whatever you want, the article says:

“We have the same problems as our patients,” said David D. Burns, a clinical psychiatrist and author of bestselling psychology book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. And sometimes that means dealing with negative thoughts, anxiety and bad moods.”

            I know this book well. I’ve read it and referred it to patients numerous times. When caregivers are the ones that need the care, what is there left to do? The article says:

  1. Use the “30-second rule” – If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a task, chore, conflict, to-do list ― and it’s totally sabotaging your mood ― try tackling just a small piece of it – 30 seconds at a time. Hmmmmmmmm
  • Deep breathing – deep-breathing exercises can be a small, easy way to slow down and change “how we think and feel.”
  • Let yourself feel bad – accepting negative feelings “emotional fluency,” which means experiencing your emotions “without judgment or attachment.” This allows you to learn from them, use them or move on from them more easily.
  • Stop and say one nice thing about yourself – If your bad mood is caused by a mistake, or if you’re thinking negatively about yourself, interrupt that stream of consciousness by picking out one thing you like about yourself.
  • Ask yourself what you should do next ― then do I: figure out what to do next ― even if it’s just a simple task ― and then commit to doing it.
  • Take a hike – Maybe not literally, but at the very least get outdoors. Each expert said they rely heavily on this activity as a way to improve mood. Exercise is really one of the best ways to blow off stress and sadness,
  • Find a mantra that works when you’re in a bad mood – Develop a self-compassion mantra: an easy-to-memorize set of phrases to repeat when we need a compassion boost, or to create mindfulness of a situation
  • Dance it out – ok, maybe not, but the article says to do it, perhaps when no one is looking. “a great way to expel a lot of pent-up anxiety or depressive energy.”
  • Play with a pup (or another furry friend) – I like this one. Spending time with a dog, cat, or another animal can be profoundly calming and uplifting.

So I guess when you’re having a bad day from the virus, burn out, feeling that dreaded heart drop when you receive your USMLE Step 3 score report (but I passed it today, yay for me), or your going through the Match/Soap process, take some time for thyself. 

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Robert Duprey MD

Robert is a 2nd career physician (MD); a combat Veteran with the US Army; a former psychiatric nurse practitioner; an independent researcher; a medical writer; and now having passed USMLE Steps 1, 2CK, 2CS, and 3, is a residency applicant. 

  1 comment for “Who Got the Funk? 9 Things Therapists (Physicians) Can Do When They Want To Feel Happier

  1. Kurt
    March 25, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Retire when you can. It will be the best thing you can do unless you don’t have to take call, do hospital practice and can see enough patients to make ends meet. Otherwise, bail while you can.

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