Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Summer Vacation? Remembering to Breathe and Flash Mobs

We couldn’t be in a more stressful environment than right now. That is the sentiment being expressed all around me. We’re less than two weeks away from “go live” of our electronic health record, ccLink, opening of our new West County Health Center this summer, expanding the Concord Health Center, developing the patient-centered health-home model and continuing ongoing improvement efforts as we help make health reform a reality (see my April 29 post). Any one of these alone would be enough to stretch us to capacity!

The Contra Costa team continues to model effective and simple ways to harness the winds of change and drive forward. Exercise and healthy eating are within everyone’s reach. You can start small by replacing an elevator ride with the stairs or taking a stroll to the Farmers Market at the CCRMC campus every Tuesday to browse the fresh food choices. In the coming weeks, I will introduce our planned efforts promote movement and physical activity in our county.

Perhaps an even more simple way to promote well-being and something you don’t have to go anywhere for is remembering to just breathe. Our employee’s creativity never ceases to amaze me (it’s one of the reasons I love working here). Karen Lloyd, one of our Rehab Therapy Services managers, provided a short demonstration last week to our leadership team focusing on mindfulness and breathing to reduce stress and help increase focus. After less than a minute of closing my eyes and concentrating on my breathing, my stress level plummeted as did our collective blood pressure I imagine. This small practice is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – an evidence-based process piloted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to promote stress reduction for medical professionals and patients. This exercise is a regular feature of the Wellness Groups offered within our system in the Integrated Health Services program led by Dr. Karen Burt and Dr. Joyce Tang. It has been shown to reduce stress, depression and anxiety and even improve performance. I’ve heard rumor that mini mindfulness Flash Mobs (yes, I said Flash Mobs!) are springing up throughout the system, so keep an eye out for the opportunity to just breathe.

For those who may not be familiar with the term "Flash Mob," I leave you with a short video of one of the most frequently viewed Flash Mobs on the web. Enjoy...

More very soon.

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