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Showing posts with the label health

Returning to Normal Means Recalibrating My Brain

The pandemic retreat doesn’t necessarily mean life will get easier for people with OCD. Brushing my teeth is a struggle. I brush so hard, and for so long, that sometimes my gums bleed. I can’t spit until I’ve touched each tooth carefully with the tip of my tongue. I open and close the medicine cabinet repeatedly, pressing my palm into the pointy corner of the mirror, until it feels like enough. I can’t leave the bathroom until I’ve flipped the light switch on and off a dozen times. Some nights, the routine takes 30 minutes. Some nights, I lean over the sink and cry. My obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests in rituals: small, repeated behaviors that my anxious little brain demands. If you do not do this thing, my brain explains, something terrible will happen to someone you love. Fear of contracting a deadly virus, combined with the total disruption of my work and social life, has multiplied my compulsions, which now require much more of my time. The same is true for others living wit

5 Tips for Safely Reopening Your Office

Open now? Open later? As the debate rages about restarting economies, one critical element is absent from the discussion. The predictor of our success or failure will have less to do with when businesses open their doors and more to do with how often people open their mouths. Decades of research suggest that the heart of a high-reliability culture is immediate peer accountability. A few years ago, John Noseworthy, CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, proudly told me about a nurse who confronted him when he forgot to use hand sanitizer as he exited an elevator. He said, in effect, “If everyone in our system will speak up to forgetful colleagues, no matter their level or position, we can avoid most incidents of preventable harm.” And he was right. And yet, in late April, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vice President Mike Pence entered the Mayo Clinic to learn about their research efforts. During his tour, provided by Mayo leaders who all wore masks, Pence proceeded bare