by Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America

Stress management is related to how each person deals with the daily stressors that occur in the dental practice and how they choose to view and respond to it. Excessive stress in the workplace is caused by many different factors: pace (too busy or too slow),  cancellations, open schedule,  lack of clarity about role, inability to say NO, unrealistic demands, difficult patients, unresolved conflicts or tensions between coworkers, fear of failure, not being able to stay on top of technical advancements, etc….

The World Health Organization called workplace stress a “worldwide epidemic,” with 75%-90% of all physician visits today for stress-related conditions. Eighty percent of all illnesses treated are linked to poorly-managed or uncontrolled stress that if not addressed, can lead to other serious health problems.

Stress cannot be eliminated; it is the ongoing fact and dominant in our workplaces and lives. The key to making sure stress doesn’t impact our physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral health is analyze how we choose to respond. The same event/situation may cause one person to feel joyful and gratified, but another person miserable and frustrated. Responses of individuals vary widely.

Those people who have difficulty managing stress exhibit symptoms such as apathy, loss of interest in work, irritability, depression, trouble with concentrating, inability to meet deadlines, chronic sick days, headaches, stomach problems, team withdrawal and use of substances to cope. Those who decide to control their stress by actively and constructively managing it can learn to harness it and turn this potentially harmful force into positive high-powered energy.
“Stress,” according to Dr. Peter Hanson, in his book Stress for Success, “can be the best ally in the workplace – if it is correctly managed.” Stress can be the stimulus that generates an industrious response. It can be the impetus that gets you over the hurdle, encourages you to go beyond that last mistake, gives you the incentive to work out that problem or to work hard enough to achieve that most difficult of goals. Without SOME stress there would be no motivation to get up out of bed!!