‘In birding & medicine, it’s important to know common species and diseases well, respectively, to be able to sniff out the rare ones.’ —Dr. Jamalyaria
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Explore This IssueMay 2019
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Hobbies Help Relieve Stress
When he’s not seeing patients in his full-time rheumatology practice, Dr. Jamalyaria enjoys writing essays, playing classical guitar, and drawing and painting. He’s found that in addition to birding, having a wide array of creative pursuits helps him to combat stress.
“As physicians, we have hectic, high-stress jobs that take place in bland, fluorescent-lit, rectangular rooms,” he says. “To go out into nature on the weekends is to experience the opposite of this sensory deprivation: relatively quiet, subtle, colorful environments with complex, fractal shapes everywhere.”
On his blog, Dr. Jamalyaria writes essays on such topics as learning, medicine and natural history, and posts some of his drawings and watercolors.
“I’ve always enjoyed art. During residency, I began learning to draw using Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” Dr. Jamalyaria says. “I began with pencil and charcoal drawings, then learned color theory and watercolor painting.” Dr. Jamalyaria freehands all of his drawings.
In 2013, he decided to begin music lessons.
“I had no previous musical background but had always enjoyed the sound of the nylon-string guitar, so I decided to take classical guitar lessons for two years,” he says.
Dr. Jamalyaria believes his diverse interests keep him resilient.
“As long as I don’t take them too seriously, my birding, art and music all provide me with improved focus and emotional well-being,” he says. “I love being a rheumatologist, taking care of my patients, and helping many of my patients move from living in chronic pain to being able to resume and enjoy their own hobbies and interests.”
Linda Childers is a health writer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.