One Physician’s Guide to a “Feeling Connected” Practice

In health care, we are often conditioned to be emotionally detached–the pace, complexity, and stress can otherwise be overwhelming. Yet, in this Greater Good podcast, Dr. Leif Hass shares his practice for Connection–finding time to see and care deeply for his patients and colleagues each day. This practice not only benefits his patients, but Dr. Hass as well. When he visits a patient, Dr. Hass acknowledges the suffering they are feeling rather than simply focusing on the pain scale of one to 10. By asking about suffering, he is taking both the physical and emotional pain into consideration. Dr Hass has learned that with a thoughtful pause, deep breath, and time to acknowledge someone’s distress, compassionate care is easier to deliver. And he invites the whole team into this approach, beginning with gratitude for the teams’ commitment and effort first, then encouraging them to care for others in this unique yet simple way. 

Dr. Hass goes on to share his “Feeling Connected” practice where he tunes into powerful moments of Connection. He spends time reflecting on one person and on a time he felt a true bond with this person. Dr Hass considers how the Experience felt, what made it memorable, and then he writes about it. Writing it down helps solidify the memory and makes it really stick. Studies show this practice of writing about our bonding Experiences also helps to make us kinder to others.