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5 ways dental professionals can have a more positive outlook on life


Do you feel like there is more bad than good in the world most days? Our author is here to help you remember how to look on the bright side of life.

When you turn on the news, or open the news app on your smartphone, you’ll often notice it’s dominated by the negative. Riots here. Death there. Political bickering and upheaval over there. And it’s not just in the news. Negativity can sneak its way into your Facebook feed as well. Eventually, it can pull you into a place you don’t want to be.

So how can you avoid all of the negative energy out there and focus on the good things in life? Here are five suggestions that can help you every day.


Woman waking up


Wake up every morning and say thank you

Truly we release an astounding energy into the world when we thank a higher power, or whatever/whomever we choose, for the fact that we woke up today. Our eyes are open. We are alive and "healthy" for this one day.

Get out of bed and don’t let your mind run rampant beyond this simple moment. Breathe in deep through your nose and out of your mouth and give yourself a positive affirmation in the mirror. For instance, say, "I am awesome." Now, go have a wonderful day and be a great dental professional because, yes, you ARE awesome!


Feet of couple


Be where your feet are

My good friend Betty always said, "If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, then you are squatting in today!"

We have to be present and in the moment to be of maximum benefit for our patients/clients and, most importantly, ourselves. If we are at work and have our hands in a patient's mouth, we certainly cannot fix that broken washing machine or pay that bill. If we keep thinking of all the things we have to do later, we have missed moments throughout the day to connect with others. What matters is where our feet are planted at this moment in time. Focus on the now. After all, today may be all we have.


Journal and pen


Keep a “Positive Journal”

We need to remind ourselves why we do what we do. I had written a Gratitude List periodically during the occasional bump in the road … or after a lesson of anger management class (kidding!). Recently I reconnected with a brilliant woman named Fran, who asked if I had ever kept a Positive Journal. I definitely had not. She suggested trying it out for one week and seeing what happens. How many times do we focus on the negative and the bad? Or even just the indifferent?

Every night before bed, try to write three positive things that happened throughout the day and review them at the end of the week. See how you feel after one week. Challenge yourself after that and try for 30 days!

It is time to pat ourselves on the back, reward ourselves, and, most of all, love and be kind to ourselves. Look at all the positive things that happened during the week, no matter how small. We all need, not want, but need to be happy to be our best at work.


Woman thinking


Eliminate the word BUT, instead add AND

I was taught long ago that anything after "but" is "BS.” However, recently I heard a motivational speaker, Todd Cohen, discuss the reasoning behind this suggestion. The word "but" immediately places a negative tone or connotation to the sentence we are saying. Try it. Every time you say “but,” replace it with "and." The difficulty we experience while trying to retrain our brains to reformat sentences replacing the word "but" is a prime example of how habitual this negative habit has become. What we say not only affects what we do, also who we say it to, how they perceive what we are saying, and, once again and most importantly, how we feel about ourselves. Using this one change of grammar is a start to welcome positivity.


Happy people


Keep the company of positive influencers

To be positive, we need positivity around. Ever hear the phrase “misery loves company?” Let’s not give it companionship! If we have a network of negative people around us, it is almost impossible to save face and smile day after day. I know because I have been there for a long time in my hygiene career.

Attend a convention or a retreat. I tried CAREERfusion and it truly feels as if they will love you until you love yourself! I have never experienced anything like it in my career! The camaraderie is a peace I am still holding on to.

Network with like-minded individuals that hold the same passion as you. Pick mentors who have values similar to you and, most importantly, get a mentor ASAP if you do not have one. If there is a professional who is successful and you look up to, but his or her personality and behavior is not one you would adopt, keep searching. Knowledge and skills can only go so far. How to assimilate and truly identify with a human being on an emotional level is a trait that cannot always be taught or learned. Find your person or persons!

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