The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Navigating Burnout

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Benjamin Morrell, a Mental Health Physician and a High-Performance Coach whose primary mission is to help people achieve their best mental health through honest conversation, education, empowerment, and guidance. Today, Dr. Morrell shares how he overcame his struggles with mental health and how medics can create a life of joy, fulfillment, and free of burnout.

  • [00:55] Getting to Know Dr. Benjamin Morrell
  • [07:44] The Benefits of Meditation for Mental Health
  • [10:14] Why Dr. Morrell Chose to Quit Residency Training
  • [17:04] Why It’s Okay to Change Your Area of Speciality
  • [19:10] The Prevalence of Burnout Among Medics
  • [24:43] Parting Thoughts

The Benefits of Meditation For Mental Health

Although people from all over the world have practiced meditation for hundreds of years, it’s still a mystery why practitioners of conventional medicine are only now taking notice of its benefits. The good news is that today’s doctors are prescribing meditation to patients with symptoms of stress, pain, depression, and anxiety. Recent research has also shown that meditation does not merely make one feel less stressed or less anxious; there are physical benefits that appear to be backed up by clinical evidence too. According to Dr. Morrell, meditation can help individuals cope with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, sleep better, and even improve some cognitive and behavioral functions. He believes that meditation is much more sustainable than prescribing pills.

Moreover, the more you practice mindful meditation, the more resilient to adversity you become. Medics, especially medical students, can use meditation to build the necessary resilience needed for daily interactions with diverse groups of patients. Dr. Morrell goes on to add that meditation is like physical exercise. The more you practice, the better at it you become.

The Prevalence of Burnout Among Medics

It’s no secret that doctors and medical practitioners will go through highly stressful environments for most of their professional careers. This means that they are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout. Sadly, burnout has far-reaching implications on doctors, their patients, and the overall healthcare system. For example, doctors experiencing burnout are more likely to make poor decisions, display hostile attitudes toward patients or colleagues, and even make more medical errors. Furthermore, burnout among doctors also increases the risk of depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, fatigue, and perhaps most seriously, suicide.

Dr. Morrell explains that the best way to combat burnout among medics is for them to put in the time and effort to relax and enjoy complete rest. This can be tricky, especially since most physicians live busy lives. But at the end of the day, the doctors who prioritize themselves and find time to enjoy personal rest end up far happier than those who don’t.


Reach out to Dr. Morrell via Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn

Got questions, feedback, or suggestions? Send a message to Dr. Erkeda DeRouen’s Instagram or MedSchoolCoach’s Instagram.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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