Together, two College of Medicine students are working to make mindfulness a staple through medical school. Anjali Mansinghani and Shivani Shah teamed up to rebrand what was formerly the Happiness Club to NEOMED’s new Mindfulness in Medicine student organization. With similar goals, the members of Mindfulness in Medicine have set out to lay a foundation for a thoughtful outlook on life and medical school.
What inspired you to create Mindfulness in Medicine?
SS: Mindfulness is often a word that is thrown around casually, but I don’t think I always understood the true essence of it. This past year, I started dedicating time and energy to meditation by going to retreats and practice sessions. Being able to hone in on meditation as a tool to becoming mindful was a pivotal point for me, and seeing its positive effect on my life inspired me to create this group. Though I am still learning, this was a message I genuinely wanted to share with others! Anjali is someone who also is working towards becoming more mindful, and she too, is very action-oriented about it. Knowing a bit about Anjali and her personal journey, I couldn’t think of a more well-suited and authentic person to accompany me in starting this club.
Why is a community like this important for students?
AM: I was incredibly grateful and excited when Shivani reached out to me with the idea of starting this new club at NEOMED. I found adjusting to the stress of medical school pretty hard early on. Like Shivani, I also worked to foster mindfulness in my life through meditation and I combined it with seeing a counselor regularly through NEOMED’s Center for Counseling and Wellness. Taking the time to do both had a huge positive impact on my mental health and my academics, and reminded me how important self-care is. As medical students, I feel it’s important to have a space where we can talk about the real stressors of medical school and share ways to cope with them, such as mindfulness.
Shivani and I, above all, hope to foster community in this group and bring together like-minded people. We aspire to create a space we both wished we had earlier on in our medical school careers — a place where we could normalize talking about personal struggles, but also garner the tools for overall well-being.
SS: As medical students, we are inevitably surrounded by a plethora of stressors and obstacles. Life, as we all know, is not always a roller coaster that merely goes up. It is filled with both highs and lows, and plenty of turbulence along the way. In medicine, there often seems to be an extra dose of stress and pressure to succeed. I personally believe that mindfulness helps us deal with the things we may not be able to control. Sometimes, hurdles that come our way we may not be able to change; however, our mindset and perspective is 100% within our grasp. Mindfulness is crucial for medical students (and everyone in general) to be able to handle every facet of life and stay steadfast towards our dreams and aspirations, irrespective of circumstances.
What’s on the horizon for Mindfulness in Medicine?
AM: We’ve got some fun plans in the works for the upcoming academic year! We plan to have yoga and meditation sessions with an instructor, as well as small group discussions about obstacles faced in medical school, such as imposter syndrome and burnout. We are also collaborating with another new club named Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group to bring a screening of a film titled “Do No Harm” to NEOMED, which is about physician and medical student burnout.
How can students become involved?
SS: The date of the kickoff meeting is still to be announced, but for all the incoming students, make sure to keep an eye out for our table at the Student Organization Fair!