by Monique Koll DVM
Do you know what mindfulness is? It is “the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”
It has been proven to be a valuable practice for improving the cognitive symptoms of depression, such as distorted thinking and distractibility. It helps individuals recognize these more subtle symptoms, realize that thoughts are not facts and refocus their attention to the present.
Meditation is a way to practice mindfulness, which can be difficult when you’re distressed, as it is hard to break that one-way train of thought. I find that guided meditations are a great entry point in a way to start practicing mindfulness, and Tara Brach was recommended to me by a double-Mastered practicing mental health specialist. Here is a link to her website and some of her meditations.
by Monique Koll DVM
Hi, I’m Dr. Monique Koll, a USA licensed and accredited veterinarian since 2005. I’ve been in small animal day practice for years and now do full time emergency medicine. I also spent 5.5 years in nonhuman primate research, which ended when a C7 incomplete spinal cord injury paralyzed me when I was hit by an unlicensed/uninsured driver. All that, on top of being a single mother, in an incredibly abusive relationship and high student debt, and I’ve been through suicidal thoughts and financial struggles and all of the above. I’m lucky; I’m only partially paralyzed and can practice again, I had good support and now am in the healthiest relationship of my life and my son has actually benefited from what we’ve been through and is emotionally mature and well grounded.
My injury, and subsequent determination to still race half marathons and triathlons, has earned me a spot on the Today Show, as well as a couple of times in the Huffington Post, and several television, news and blog interviews on a local, national and international scale. Being from New Orleans, I am the epitome of outspoken and non-judgmental. This inevitably led to me becoming involved in “active transportation” and worked with my local and state governments to help change rules to benefit society. I’ve written several articles and have given several speeches to this end, and while city planning and transportation is still a hobby of mine, veterinary medicine is my first love and I want to use my spare time and resources to support our profession. I am dedicated to do what I can to help our mental, emotional and financial health, and the best way I can help at this time is to contribute to NOMV’s blog. Overall we will come through this a stronger and even better loved and respected profession than before, and I want to be part of that. If you have any questions or concerns, any general or specific topic you’d like more information about; if you see a media piece you think may be helpful or even have something you’d personally like to contribute, please let me know via Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am excited to work for and with all of you.
by Carrie Jurney DVM DACVIM (Neuro)
I'm in the middle of training for a local suicide crisis hotline. More on that later. They are teaching us about listening. Last night, the instructor had us do an exercise that I really liked. How would your interactions change if you gave up on "being right"?
Being right feels so good. It's righteous- it's even right there in that word.
But does that feel lead us anywhere helpful? The answer I'm coming to is no.
It's not that I have to be wrong. It's not even that I won't express my point of view. It just changes the goal of the conversation.
It's easy to see where that fits in to my non-work life. Like, arguing with my husband- there is rarely a correct party. If we instead focus on the underlying feelings, and not on winning the argument- we actually get somewhere.
But can it fit in to my work life? I think it can. I think, as I teach a new class of interns, I see how much I've relaxed and I want to do it more. I'm not trying to win an argument with my clients anymore. I'm listening. I'm hearing what their concerns are. I'm making a suggestion, a recommendation if you will- they don't have to take it. It might not actually be right for them. It might be medically right, and still not right for them. The point is I let go of that part. That doesn't have to change my suggestion, but it does change how I present it and how I process it when its rejected. It takes the anger, and the righteousness, out of it.
So my friends, How would your conversations with your clients, your staff, everyone change if you gave up on being right?
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.