This post was written by H&W instructors Nari Clemons, PT and Dr. Shawn Sidhu, MD, psychiatrist. Nari and Shawn will be instructing the course that they wrote on "Meditation and Pain Neuroscience" in Illinois this September.
We caught up with Dr. Shawn Sidhu, MD, psychiatrist on why he thinks it is good for himself and his patients to have a meditation practice.
Why, as a physician and father, do you meditate?
Meditation can do a lot of things for different people. Some people say that it helps them to stay grounded. Others comment that it helps them to focus and organize their mind. I’ve also heard that people feel more in touch with their emotions and their thoughts when they’ve been meditating regularly, even for brief periods of time. While I feel that all of the above are certainly benefits of meditation that I have experienced, the single greatest thing that meditation does for me is to help increase my level of awareness as it pertains to my surroundings. In other words, when I am able to meditate, my observational skills improve significantly. This is incredibly important for a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Those of us who work in mental health must first observe our patients, and really see them clearly through multiple layers if we are going to have any chance of helping them and getting to the root causes of their suffering. Only after observing clearly and effectively can we begin to think about treatment. On days when I don’t meditate and I’m not as in touch with my inner self, I lose a great deal of awareness of the outside world as well. My patients notice it, too, and will comment that I am not as in tune with them or not as engaged on days when I do not meditate. So in a sense meditation sets a great foundation from which I can really reach patients and their families in a meaningful way.