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Welcome to the med Ed Welch podcast, where physicians get empowered to take the next step in their wellness, personally, professionally, and financially. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, a practicing general pediatrician and online entrepreneur.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the MedEdWell Podcast. I’m so excited that you’re back. And that you’ve been sharing and engaging with these episodes. If you are new welcome.

And if this is another episode that you are coming back, to listen and engage with, I want to encourage you to subscribe to leave a review and to share this with someone else that might benefit from this.

I have heard from so many people about how this has made a difference about how me being vulnerable about some of these things that I’ve been through, has really impacted their lives. And so I just want to encourage you to consider to engage and to consider sharing, because this makes such a difference for physicians, and for others both inside and outside medicine.

So today, we’re going to be talking about the full human experience versus buffering. Now, you might be asking, what is buffering. So as a part of my life coach training through the Life Coach School, one of the concepts that we learned about was called buffering where in order to not feel a particular emotion, that might be we perceive as negative and we try and go for a positive emotion. And it’s a matter of saying, I don’t want to feel this.

So I’m going to go over here and do something else in order to try and feel something different. I’ll get some examples in a moment. But first, from my own life, I see this on a pretty regular basis. Because the underlying thought, least that I’m perceiving is that I want what I want when I want it.

I want what I want when I want it for my kids. It’s summed up with no, I have young children. And yeah, it’s either a no, or maybe for the baby, it’s just a scream, you walked away, you left me in my enclosure of my playpen so that I can’t be free.

And so we often think that there should only be positive emotions, that we should only feel these comfortable, or things that we think are positive, rather than really experiencing both the positive and the negative emotions that are part of life.

We each want those positive things only. And we try to get it rather than experiencing pain, discomfort, grief, other things that we perceive as negative and actively try and avoid those things. And so as we seek to get away from these negative feelings, these negative emotions and move towards those positive emotions, we do things and have urges to get away from the negative.

And that’s what is described as buffering. So today as we consider the fullness of the human experience, both positive and negative emotions, I want to cover three big points. We’re gonna talk about the ways that people buffer we’re gonna talk about how we’re assisting the buffering and the growing desires, the urge to move past, sitting with some of those emotions.

And then third, we’re going to cover how allowing these urges, and experiencing these negative feelings allows us to really engage with and to experience the full breadth of human emotions and the human experience.

So first, I’m gonna cover some of the ways that people buffer well, more. So ways that I buffer and maybe ways that you can relate to, but I’m sure there’s other things that maybe are part of your experience that may be unique to you, or at least not part of mine previously.

So a few of the emotions that I experienced 100 regular basis would be feeling tired, especially young children.

Having been in medical training, many of you may be able to relate, maybe it’s right now that you are just feeling exhausted, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s feelings of boredom, or of stress.

And so, rather than sitting with these emotions, sometimes I will eat a snack, or decide that I’m going to have some coffee, or I’m going to look at my phone, and in and of themselves, these things aren’t bad.

But when I am trying to use them, in order to not feel tired, I will eat because I want to feel maybe more alert, maybe I want to feel this pleasure from eating a snack, whether it’s my kids goldfish, the Craisins that we otherwise will put on salads.

It may not be that we keep ice cream in the house, we try not to but still have that as part of say, a celebration, birthdays or otherwise.

But it’s about what am I trying to achieve by doing that? Am I eating because I’m truly having the sensation of hunger? Or is it because I’m bored, I’m tired, I’m stressed. Maybe I’m not wanting to be bored or to engage with some of the thoughts that I’m having some of the experience of grief, of sadness of just dealing with some of the hard things that each of us face that are out there in the world.

And so rather than do that, maybe I’m just going to look at my phone and and check the sports. Or I’m going to check my email again, or my social media.

Because many times, there are things that I can learn from really sitting with these emotions, to really examine my thoughts to consider where I am, where I am, how that’s showing up for me, how I want to show up, and what I can learn from that situation.

As I sit with and hold that grief. For me this week, it’s been remembering my boys, it’s been four years. I talked previously on the podcast about miscarriage and losing twin boys at 19 weeks and this week. That’s been really hard.

But it’s been good to sit with that grief. It’s different than it was the first year the second year, but it’s still there and I miss them. But it’s my life has been richer for having really engaged with that, to see what I can learn from that and how that can help me and moving forward.

Whether it’s sharing my experience with you being more compassionate with some of my patients that may have walked a similar journey. There may be other discomfort that I’m trying to avoid whether it’s the discomfort of showing up and recording a podcast, I still get a little bit nervous as I think about that.

And, but I really value this opportunity to be with you to create this value to put this out there and to help people, it may be that there’s a discomfort for you around something else.

For me, sometimes it’s around working out, and I will put that off saying, Oh, I’m going to do something else, maybe that’s checking the sports or reading

a book, or maybe it’s something else that’s helpful to getting stuff done around the house, an electrical project or something, like I’ve been doing more recently, but really, it’s avoiding something that I know, is good for me.

Because I want to avoid that discomfort.

So there are many ways that humans will buffer will try to seek a positive emotion, whether that’s comfort, whether that’s joy, whether that’s happiness, could be any number of things, in order to avoid feeling a negative emotion, we think that we should only have these positive emotions, when really, there are both positive and negative emotions as part of the human experience.

So first, recovered some of the ways that people buffer.

But secondly, I want you to know that when the buffering and these things that we do so for me, maybe it’s looking at my phone, when I try and just resist it, by sheer willpower.

Many times in these situations, I find that the desire grows, that I just want to do it more, that I am just wanting to avoid that boredom. I want to pick up my phone to check the email to check the notifications, that I just want that more to say that, Oh, I’m not going to have these snacks, because I’m just going to work out my willpower and not do it.

Sometimes, that just makes me want it more. When I get snacks for my kids, and it’s just there. I’m like, well, I’ll just have some as well. And maybe it’s just a few. But it’s about that urge that desire.

And what do I do with that. And sometimes, thinking about this, there’s a certain amount of willpower and resolutions and things that we want to be about.

But if it’s just on willpower, that I’m going to make myself do it. There’s only so much willpower that each of us has. And if that desire continues to increase, and periodically, we give into that urge.

It could be the food or the phone, not working out that it’s not going to be helpful. Anymore may say, Well, wait a minute, what about changing these habits and these thoughts, but really, living and having thoughts from this new identity of this person that I want to be who works out who chooses to be intentional in the use of my time, these things are coming from the thoughts of saying, This is who I am.

This is who I am when I’m a healthy person. And when I am a person who works out who is intentional with my time.

And I have thoughts and feelings of alignment of peace and even of experiencing the discomfort that I know that I need in order to take those actions to be that kind of person.

And so sometimes it’s just taking that moment that maybe a few minutes, or a longer period of time to really say Who do I want to be because it’s not only looking at the Ways that we buffer, and how resisting the buffering and these desires that grow.

But it’s also about how do I allow those urges, and experience those negative feelings. Number three.

So, point number three being allowing these urges and experiencing these negative feelings. It’s because it’s what needs to happen in order to, to move forward in order to have that full human experience, because those are what are going to allow you to have those intentional and intentional actions to get where you want to go.

Those feelings of discomfort, those feelings of I don’t know what to do with this. And yet that that feeling is, is okay. You are experiencing human emotion.

And rather than saying, I’m confused, and I don’t know, it’s sitting with yourself, and letting yourself figure it out.

Because I can’t say what your emotions are. I can only say, this is how it’s showing up for me. And as I get to work with a coach, and they help surface some of these thoughts, and feelings, they can ask questions, to help me really engage with it, and see maybe how it’s showing up.

But ultimately, there’s a certain amount of confirmation and checking in where am I really, and so I want to encourage you that you are the one that needs to check in on yourself.

It could be that you need someone else to help guide you through this. That’s one of the real values that I found for myself and coaching. And that I know many others have as well.

But there are feelings that we think are so bad, and we want to avoid them. But stress, grief, sadness, discomfort, by experiencing and allowing these feelings, then it gives us an opportunity to really understand our thoughts how that’s showing up for us, in this situation, maybe in another situation.

And it gives that fuller picture of the human experience rather than just trying to escape and say, Well, I’m not going to engage with that, I’m not going to experience that because it’s too painful.

Well, I want to encourage you that even if something is really painful, there are things that you can learn from that. And it’s okay to have these feelings, to be sad to look at the fear or anxiety that may be coming up in particular situations.

You aren’t broken because you’re experiencing these really big emotions. Now, by engaging with them, that is actually a sign of strength. And none of us can do this life on our own.

So I want to encourage you if this is something that is really striking a chord for you, and that you get help, whether it’s a counselor or someone through your employee assistance program, whether it’s getting a coach or if you’re really struggling and this is a crisis, time for you that you reach out and like the 988 National Mental Health hotline.

And no physician burnout, depression, suicidal ideation, these things are real. There are so many hard things and yet you don’t have to go through this alone.

And so, as we wrap up today, I want you to take a moment. I want you to take a moment and think about one way that you buffer one emotion that you’ve tried to avoid that you’ve resisted.

Maybe you’ve resisted an urge to do something or to sit with that emotion And What feeling do you want to intentionally allow yourself to experience.

So I’d encourage you to do that today, don’t push it off, thinking, Oh, that’s uncomfortable, I don’t want to do that. Do that today, then send me a message and let me know how that went for you what you learned, and how that might help someone else.

So I want to thank you for joining me here on another episode of the MedEdWell podcast. Thank you so much for showing up for listening, for sharing for subscribing.

If you are looking for someone to help walk you through some of these things, I have a limited number of one on one spots available.

And soon we’ll be launching my group coaching program to help physicians finish charting faster. I also have started doing more on YouTube with some short clips. And I didn’t encourage you to reach out and let me know what has been helpful, and how I can best create content that’s useful for you going forwards.

So please reach out social media, send me a DM, send me an email, and just let me know how I can best support you in your wellness and taking that next step. Thank you so much for all the details. And now for our important disclaimer


Dr. Ryan Stegink is a practicing general pediatrician. But the MedEdWell podcast does not reflect the views, opinions or beliefs of his employer, nor is affiliated University.

Additionally, the MedEdWell podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be considered advice regarding financial, legal student loan, medical or any other specific topic.

In such a case, you should seek consultation with certified professional in that particular area. Again, thanks for joining us on the MedEdWell podcast and have a great day.