Resources

These writers, authors and speakers offer huge amounts of information on stress and burnout, and much of it is free. Their content is current, usable and highly applicable to NPs.

* The Happy MD – Dr Dike Drummond offers tons of free content to help deal with stress and burnout. After interviewing him for the Burnout Recovery Guide, I can attest to his dedication to serving others, and to supporting NPs. Dike is personable, helpful and sincere, and also offers individual burnout coaching.

StressDoc – Mark Gorkin, AKA StressDoc, is a Social Worker who describes himself as a “motivational humorist.” His writing and speaking styles are fun, informative and easy to understand. He describes himself as “battle tested,” having served as a “stress and violence consultant” to the United States Postal Service. He also wrote the book “Practice Safe Stress.”

Clear2Care – Dr Frank is a proliferative writer who provides “tools that create satisfaction on both sides of the stethoscope.” He focuses on caring more for your patients, not creating emotional distance, as the path to increased emotional satisfaction and decreased burnout.

Resource Compilation Sites

The resource gathering-together sites below each offer a veritable bazaar of mindfulness readings, videos and exercises. The large majority of them are free. You can lose yourself for weeks or months playing with even one these sites, particularly the first three. Okay, maybe you can’t, unless you’re a mindfulness nerd like me, but they really do offer some incredible insights and opportunities.

* HelpGuide – HelpGuide is easily my number one choice for “quick and dirty” help for health consumer-directed mindfulness information. Their articles are concise, well-written and packed with information. They have numerous mindfulness and stress-relief exercises sprinkled throughout the site in many different articles. I particularly recommend the following articles:

            1) Preventing Burnout

            2) Caregiver Stress and Burnout

            3) Stress Relief in the Moment

            4) Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief.

            5) Benefits of Mindfulness

Clear Mind – Offers tons of lists of free resources about meditation, stress, happiness, and free e-books and guided meditations. Clear Mind is the best resource to use if you want to learn to meditate, as they have great descriptions in their articles of the hows, whys and wherefores for beginning meditators.

American Holistic Health Association – Free listing of wellness resources, both conventional and alternative. A great resource for body-mind-spirit therapies, videos, articles and other free stuff. It’s not really all that “woo woo,” everything on the site is free, and the information is excellent. Highly recommended.

MindfulNet – A good all-around general resource for free information on mindfulness. They provide links to research, teachers, events, uses/benefits, and books.

Alexander Technique – “Huh?” you may ask. The Alexander Technique is a method to reduce muscle tension and decrease pain. It has been shown in a large multicenter RCT published in the British Medical Journal to provide marked benefits for back pain, reducing pain-free days from an average of twenty-one to an impressive three days per month. The above site is a comprehensive resource for learning this technique, both from teachers and on your own.

UMass – The UMass Medical School is where the world-renowned Jon Kabat-Zinn started his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) clinic, and brought mindfulness to the attention of the Western world. UMass does oodles of research themselves, and their website is the definitive resource for all things MBSR. There are classes all over the world to learn MBSR, and many books and research studies dedicated to this subset of mindfulness.

Mindful – Mindful is a pop psychology-style magazine that offers a plethora of online content for learning about and practicing mindfulness. If you want to see the latest breaking news in mindfulness, this is an excellent resource to check out.

Guided Meditations

Each of the sites below offers hundreds of audio or video meditations, mostly for free. I only included one largely paid-only site, and I only included them because they are my #1 resource for meditations. Guided meditations are an excellent compromise between sitting still and being mindful with needing to be frequently reminded to stay “on task.”

* Chopra Center Meditation – Unfortunately most of their materials cost money, but they are absolutely my favorite resource for audio-guided meditations. I generally listen to one of their 15-20 minute meditations per day, orated by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. They are extremely well designed and superbly executed, and they do offer free three-week meditation events several times per year.

* The Honest Guys – The Honest Guys are easily my favorite resource for free guided video meditations, which they offer on their website and on YouTube. The videography is excellent, and the videos are narrated by a man with a very soothing bass voice and a delightful accent. Grab a pair of headphones and get ready to relax, whether for five minutes or an hour.

Tara Brach – Tara is a clinical psychologist who has been publishing audio guided meditations weekly on her website for years now. Most of the meditations are 20-30 minutes, though she does have a few shorter ten to fifteen minute meditations sprinkled throughout. Tara is well-known in the guided meditation community for doing excellent work.

Audio Dharma – Audio Dharma offers a selection of Zen Buddhism-style audio meditations. They are mostly longer, in the thirty to sixty-minute range, but they do have various meditations in the five to fifteen minute range. They also offer audio of hundreds of talks on Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness.

UCLA – I would be remiss in my duties as mindfulness information-collector-and-sharer if I did not mention the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center’s free guided meditations. So there you go, I mentioned it.

Web Toy… I mean Tool:

Mindtools’ Burnout Self Test – free online test to help you quantify your burnout in true “quick and dirty” fashion. You answer fifteen questions and they give you a “burnout score” with interpretation. My most recent score was a 46 (medium burnout risk).

Recommended Books

The books below represent a gold mine of information about mindfulness, life and self-care. All detail numerous mindfulness techniques and skills, directly or indirectly. All are excellent, and constitute the top of my “recommended reads.”

* Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn – The book that introduced Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to the world, myself included. Reading this book changed my life, especially the “Body Scan” exercise. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

* The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz – The second book on this list that changed my life, it elucidates four deceptively simple agreements you can make with yourself. Following the four agreements can increase self-care, positive self-image, relationships with others, and many other importance aspects of life.

* The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – The Little Prince teaches readers to engage in what I call “child-like wonder.” Through stories it advocates a beautiful and simple perspective that can utterly transform how you interact with the world. It certainly did so for me, and is the third book on this list that changed my life.

Everyday Mindfulness by Colin Thompson – An excellent and free e-book by an Australian psychologist who specializes in mindfulness techniques. He shared his wisdom with me when I interviewed him for the Burnout Recovery Guide; the interview is included with the multimedia package. Colin is insightful, kind, compassionate and caring, and his book reflects those qualities.

Burnout, The Cost of Caring by Christine Maslach – UC Berkeley professor Maslach is a seminal pioneering American researcher in burnout, and has authored numerous studies and books. She is also the author of the well-known and oft-used Maslach Burnout Inventory. She envisions burnout as a problem of the human dimensions of work, rather than as an individual problem.

Mindfulness Solution by Ronald Siegel – Down to earth, step-by-step instructions on how to implement mindfulness. Siegel is easy to read, and writes like he is having a conversation with you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and strongly recommend it.

The Burnout Cure by Julie de Azevedo Hanks – This popular book is aptly described as “an overwhelmed woman’s emotional survival guide.” Azevedo Hanks is a wife, mom, researcher, author, blogger, media contributor, business consultant, performing songwriter, public speaker, gospel doctrine teacher and therapy practice owner and director. She uses and advocates a Christ-centered approach, quoting scripture and lessons from the gospel to help supermoms and other women beat burnout.

Research:

This section is for you researchy types interested in learning more about the evidence behind mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Hundreds of studies have been performed, and shown significant benefit to participants in all cases.

JAANP – Before sharing specific sites and researchers, I would like to give a nod to the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The large majority of studies of NP burnout and mindfulness are published in JAANP. Well done.

Mindfulness Research Guide – Serves as a repository of information about research on mindfulness, and publishes a bulletin monthly of the latest advances in mindfulness research.

UMass – Umass published the seminal research in MBSR, lead by researchers Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.

Center for Mindful Eating – Great resource for everything about mindful eating with a comprehensive bibliography.

Christine Maslach – Seminal burnout researcher and author of the well-known and oft-used Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Shauna Shapiro – Internationally renowned researcher, speaker, author and professor of psychology at Santa Clara University. Her numerous publications focus on integrating mindfulness into the health professions.

Ronald Epstein – Breast cancer surgeon who has authored over twenty books and 150 journal articles on mindfulness and other topics, especially physician-patient-system communication and its effects on patient outcomes.

Wilmar Shaufeli – The definitive European researcher on burnout, the Utrecht University psychology professor is frequently cited in American publications as well.