Several times a year, I am a motivational speaker for different dental groups. Usually, I talk about change management or decreasing stress.
It's true that dentists are some of the most highly stressed out professionals around. Below are some reasons why:
A Dentists work requires very high, near perfection, standards. Patients don't go to a dentist and say, build me bridge and it's ok if it's crooked. Drilling and Scraping around in someone's mouth is very detail oriented, precise, sometime physically demanding work.
Dental school is also demanding and can be a very competitive atmosphere.
Thus, dental professionals have high expectations and some can be extremely hard on themselves. In a drive to do it right every time, you never give yourself the benefit of the doubt and this can quickly wear you down.
When someone is hard on themselves, usually they are also equally hard on others. Thus, the tensions and pressure can spread to the rest of the dental team. Next, there is the tension of scheduling patient visits, which almost inevitable run over time. So now, the demands of Dentist and their staff are to be perfect in less time.
Patients also don't always look forward to visiting the dentist because it's expensive and painful.
While every profession deals with stress differently, the dental feild is unique because it creates professionals who are driven and critical of themselves and others.
Thus, to break through stress, dentists need to have a bit more self compassion. Being more kind and forgiving to themselves, helps a high performing teams perform even better.
By taking yourself lightly in a demanding culture, you can separate from the tension and not take pressure or inevitable problems personally. As a result, you create resilience and boost morale.
Other ways to Be More Kind to Yourself:
Be your own Self Advocate- Don't let the powerful inner critical get all the air time. Balance it with positive thoughts about what you have accomplished and your impact on others.
Take a Break- Throughout the day, do small things to take care of yourself. Go for a walk, stretch, call a loved one, these small acts that help sustain your energy.
Forgive Yourself when You Mess Up. We all Make Mistakes, what makes you so special? Don't hold yourself hostage to past mistakes, instead, learn from them and move forward.
Dentists-How are you hard on yourself ? How can you be more compassionate?
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