Practicing mindfulness as a new dentist

By | December 12, 2022

There are too many things happening in life that could make us feel stressed, overwhelmed and less focused.

Especially as a new dentist with a lot of responsibilities, your mind is constantly busy trying to get a clearer insight of where you want to take your practice to.

The first rule to keep in mind is that there’s no rush.

You’ll figure out what to do and when to do it at the right time. Life is long, and the journey is full of lessons that will shape your way of thinking and will lead you exactly to where you’re supposed to be.

And that’s how mindfulness can help new dentists understand.

All of us have heard about the concept of mindfulness, and some of us might be truly investing in it.

But being fully occupied might influence our willingness and keep us in our place. Also, performing treatments without being present and aware could decrease the dentists’ ability to detect their weak points. They won’t be able to strengthen these weak points and elevate their practice to a new level.

Mindfulness could be a life-changing practice, and it could result with tremendous benefits not only on the dentist’s career but on their lives as well.

How do you become a mindful dentist?

The key strategy that helped me manage my time and gave me strength to face my fears and overcome them was separating the way my mind was telling me to feel from the present moment. This constant reminder to resist distractions taught me that there’s nothing we can’t do to achieve great results that would satisfy us and the patients.

Here are some of the benefits, that mindfulness could give us as dentists:
• Focus: Practicing mindfulness increases the ability to maintain focus while performing complex procedures, which will improve the dentist’s performance, and will develop the satisfaction about treatments provided.
• Reduces stress levels: Being constantly under stress affects the dentist’s both mental and physical health. By being present and aware, dentists could improve their resilience and lower their stress levels.
• Constant learner’s mindset: Mindful dentists see their mistakes as learning opportunities. Adopting such a mindset motivates them to seek solutions and expand their knowledge in a variety of fields.
• Time management: Mindfulness gives you the space to organize your thoughts and priorities. Better time management leads to a more centered mind.
• Calm: Mindful dentists project calm, which can comfort the patient and give dentists the chance to develop their communication with the patient. This leads to a better comprehension of the patient’s concerns and needs.
• Empathy: Patients tend to actively respond to the dentist’s instructions when the dentist shows empathy. Mindfulness creates empathy and compassion. Empathizing with patients increases the dentist’s ability to identify the patient’s feelings and mental state, which will make them relate and respond with compassion instead of being overwhelmed when a situation occurs.
• Creativity: Dentistry gives us the opportunity to be creative in many different ways, and that is one of the greatest things about what we do. Therefore, having an organized and aware mind gives dentists some space to learn more about themselves and what they are passionate about so they can be creative in their own special way.

How do you practice mindfulness as a new dentist?
• Purpose: Having a purpose is key to a mindful mind and is the cornerstone of any successful career. It will constantly motivate new dentists to stick to the plan they have so they can achieve goals and overcome challenges.
• Meditation or prayer: Starting the day with a mental or spiritual exercise is essential. It can increase your happiness, decrease anxiety and inspire reflection on your mental health with tremendous benefits.
• Recharge: Take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and relieve stress.
• Active listening: This quality allows dentists to be fully present while communicating with the patient, which enhances self-awareness and helps dentists improve their accuracy in decision-making.
• Preparation: Examining the cases a day before in order to prepare the steps needed for any treatment is a helpful strategy that keeps dentists aware during the procedure, saves time and develops the new dentist’s confidence about their performance.
• Reduce screen time: The more we waste time scrolling through different platforms, the more we get distracted, not only from work and the present moment, but from our goal and our purpose as well.
• Exercise: Setting a fixed time dedicated to exercise helps dentists elevate their mood and maintain overall health and well-being, which will increase their ability to stay mindful.

When new dentists focus on the present moment in everything they do, they incite a real transformation in their minds that will enable them to think clearly, to analyze accurately and find solutions. Therefore, they’ll develop their sense of control, which will automatically lead to better results in their practice and life in general.

Lara Rifai, D.D.S., is a 2020 graduate of The Syrian Private University and about to open her own practice in Damascus, Syria.

 

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