The Articulate Dentist - A Blog by the Metro Denver Dental Society

From Chaos to Calm: Everyday Mindfulness in Your Dental Practice

New Dentists, Stress Management

By: Holly Duckworth, LSP, CAE, CMP

We live in a world of bigger, better faster and more. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, I would argue it can’t be. “Burnout” is becoming too common of a phrase across many professions. And, we are now aware of the personal challenges such as health issues and divorce or the professional challenges such as legal or financial struggles which are plaguing our chaotic lives and impacting our businesses.

Being a dentist in today’s world takes strength and stamina in new ways. The intersection of personal service for your patients must be balanced with new online tools available to your patient’s dental care.

The answer to these problems is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgement. Once tied to eastern practices, mindfulness is now a mainstream practice in business today.

Here are three things to do each day to reduce chaos and create calm:

1) Set a daily intention. Many of us are reading our email or social media feeds before our feet even hit the floor for the day. Our instant spontaneous response to that is … STRESS. We feel behind even before our day begins. An intention is deciding with full awareness how we will put our energy in motion. Not so much what will you do today, check-in with patients, x-rays, cleaning, reports, etc. intention is how will you be while you are doing these things. For example, an intention may be joy, peace, fun, ease, happy. A daily intention could be – Today I will be happy in all that I do.

2) Have a daily practice to center yourself. You tell your patients to brush their twice teeth daily. But, do you brush your own life stress off ? If you are saying to yourself, “Yeah, that would be nice but I am just too busy,” start small and integrate mindfulness into your day. As you drive to work, instead of seeing each stoplight as a stress see it as an opportunity. Mindfully take a moment to focus on breathing in and breathing out periodically throughout the day. Let it bring you back to center.

3) Wash away the stress. As a dentist hand washing happens many, many times a day. Instead of doing this mindlessly, integrate a little mindfulness. Take that 30 – 60 seconds to see the stress in your shoulders melting and going down the drain. Walk back to your patients each time more renewed. In my book, “Everyday Mindfulness From Chaos to Calm in a Crazy World” there is a quick daily tool to help you set an intention and start each day with a mindful quote and story.

These three actions: setting intention, breathing and washing away stress will help you choose to live calm in the appearance of chaos today.

Mindful matters, and so do you!

Holly Duckworth, LSP, CAE, CMP is known as the C-Suite Network Advisor on Mindfulness in the workplace, unleashing human potential through mindfulness techniques. She helps stressed-out leaders find and sustain greater focus, clarity and inner peace, resulting in a more grounded and powerful presence and enhanced profits. As a keynote speaker, facilitator, and coach as an applied mindful leadership advisor. She is a published and award-winning author and a contributor to the New York Times, Producer/Host of the Everyday Mindfulness Show. She lives in Denver, Colorado. Learn more at


The Articulate Dentist is a blog by the Metro Denver Dental Society, providing members with insight into the dental industry, practice management tips, tech trends and best practices as well as Society news and updates.


The Metro Denver Dental Society is a not-for-profit component society of the American Dental Association and the Colorado Dental Association.

The MDDS is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. MDDS designates courses for the number of CE hours listed with each course. MDDS credits are approved by the AGD for Fellowship and Mastership credits.

Course Disclaimer: MDDS makes every effort to present high caliber speakers in their respective areas of expertise. MDDS courses are offered as information only and not as financial, accounting, legal or other professional advice. Attendees must consult with their own professional advisers. In addition, each participant must decide the merit and practicality of the material presented. The ideas and comments expressed during the courses are not necessarily endorsed by or are those of MDDS. MDDS warns attendees about the potential risks of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into your practices.