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A Quick How-To Guide For Keeping a Level Head When Running a Dental Practice.

by | Mar 23, 2024 | Articles, Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

A Quick How-To Guide For Keeping a Level Head When Running a Dental Practice.

When they’re not developing clinical know-how, the most successful dental practice owners are building their business acumen. However, even the best of us lose sight of one of the most important pieces of the puzzle: Personal development for dental professionals.

You don’t have to look far to witness how important stress management for dentists is. There’s a reason Corporate America is investing millions into mindfulness, not to mention all of the studies out there that show us the benefits of it. When we’re happier and more emotionally fulfilled, we’re simply more productive than we would otherwise be. There’s less distractions going on internally, and we’re more motivated on a daily basis.

You deserve more than a successful career; you deserve a fulfilling life. Meditation and mindfulness in dentistry is an amazing way to pursue work-life balance for dentists. That’s why I want to give you a quick how-to guide for keeping a level head when running a dental practice.

Step back from the hustle and bustle.

Dental practice management is hectic. There’s so much going on, and it’s impossible to not feel stirred up inside. Between racing thoughts about the success of our business to emotional turmoil from things as simple as burnout, it’s important to take a step back and recalibrate our mental state. 

It’s always a good time to launch some soul-searching and get a better grip on your identity, objectives, and so on. Don’t wait until you have a mid-life crisis. You don’t want to wonder why you’ve gotten to where you are and have a meltdown one day or, worse, live your days only to look back at them in regret.

Living in your head isn’t living in the moment. It’s the opposite of being mindful. It means you’re thinking about everything more than you’re experiencing everything. If you let your thoughts run away, you’ll end up feeling crazy or like your brain is tossing around inside your skull. That, or you’ll end up thinking too much about what you want to do instead of taking action and doing what you want to do. That’s why stress management for dentists is so important.

Go on “super-mini” vacations.

When it comes to mindfulness in dentistry, natural tendencies and routines should be analyzed. There’s no work-life balance for dentists who are constantly hustling and bustling to put out fires in their business; you’ll end up thinking about nothing but dental practice management during your day-to-day. If that sounds like you, then it’s time to incorporate breaks into our regular day-to-day. These breaks ought to be meditative experiences like going for a walk, taking a bath, or literally spending time meditating every morning and/or after work. 

Spending even a few minutes to take your mind off of work can be so beneficial. Practice some deep breaths, experience the moment, release some stress, and you’ll feel so much better. These moments can be a temporary reprieve—a super-mini vacation—that your soul will thank you for.

On that note, taking actual vacations isn’t a bad idea. For many, mindfulness in dentistry starts with an escape like that. However, escaping from life isn’t going to serve you in the long-term. You’ll soon be filled up with all that stress once you get back to the grind. Stress management for dentists requires incorporating those super-mini vacations into your regular routine, otherwise you’ll find that the stress is always piling up and you’re constantly feeling burnt out.

Ask yourself these three questions.

When it comes to personal development for dental professionals, there are three important questions you must ask yourself:

  1. Do you have a need for power?
  2. Do you have a need for affirmation?
  3. Do you have a need for achievement?


You might say yes to one of these questions, all of them, or none of them. But, my bet is that most of you need to think hard before saying “no” to any of them. No matter what, having a need isn’t good—you’ll never get a rest. You won’t get sleep at night or you’ll wake up at three in the morning with your mind kicking into gear about one thing or another. 

So, if you find yourself answering “yes” to any of these questions, do some soul-searching. Think about why you have those needs, and think about where you think those needs will get you. This kind of thinking is going to be key to developing your sense of identity and reconfiguring your goals.

The truth is, some of you may never want to face tough questions like these. Others may lack the patience and get frustrated by them, thinking that finding the answers won’t result in any immediate payoff. Personal development for dental professionals comes incrementally—it doesn’t happen overnight—and internal change won’t ever begin if you don’t start to think critically about yourself.

Read personal development books.

There are so many great books out there that can help when it comes to personal development for dental professionals. I recommend one called “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life” by Spencer Smith and Steven C. Hayes. It’s a self-help workbook for a brand of therapy called “acceptance and commitment therapy” or ACT. Many folks who have done some therapy or soul-searching know of “cognitive behavioral therapy,” or CBT, which has similarities. 

For those of you unfamiliar with CBT, it’s basically the art of identifying your troubling thoughts before refuting them, reframing them, and replacing them with rational counter-statements. In acceptance and commitment therapy, it’s less battling your thoughts and instead taking an approach of identifying our thoughts, distancing ourselves from them, and then moving forward while knowing they’re there. 

Whether it’s ACT or CBT, it’s important to find a strategy that floats your boat and works for you. There are books full of tactics for calming your mind that’ll teach you wonders about stress management for dentists. So, start reading!

Start bringing your life into balance.

Dental practice management comes with working hard to handle challenges and obstacles that get in the way of success. But that doesn’t mean we ought to let our businesses run our lives—work-life balance for dentists should be prioritized. Mindfulness in dentistry is imperative if you want to stay calm and focus on what’s most important in life. It helps you stay humble, persevere, work hard, and dream big.

I run a community full of dental professionals just like you. So, join the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook group and reach out! People from all across the globe will be happy to tell you how they go about keeping a level head when running their dental practice.

Glenn Vo
Author: Glenn Vo