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Our expectations often shape our reality. We have all heard of the placebo effect and how expectations influence perceptions and often actual health. We tend to find or experience what we are expecting to find or experience. This is partially due to the fact that we prime ourselves to pay attention to those things that confirm our expectations. This can work in both positive and negative ways. One way you can harness the power of positive expectations is by being deliberate about an intention to focus on something positive. Here’s how it can work in medicine to improve your sense of well-being and satisfaction.


Pick an intention from the following list, or think up one of your own, to work on today.

  • Today I will be purposeful about noticing what brings me joy in practicing medicine
  • Today I will focus on lifting the spirit of one of my patients
  • Today I will set the intention to give a genuine smile to each of my patients
  • Today I will be vigilant about really listening to the stories of my patients
  • Today I will do something to connect with one of my patients or peers
  • Today I will do whatever I can to take care of myself

Need inspiration?  Visit one of these links:

Self-care 1

Self-care 2



Reflection Questions:

  • What did you notice about your thoughts?
  • How did setting an intention influence your day?
  • If you read one of the inspiration stories are there similar stories you could tell about a patient you cared for?
  • What makes intentions so powerful?