Stress – beat it with a little help from your friends

Beat stress with a little help from your friends

Stress affects everyone differently. For some, it makes them concentrate harder. For others, it can feel overwhelming and cause them to make mistakes. We all know that dentistry can be a stressful profession, but there are things you can do to help your days go more smoothly.

Stress in dentistry

Unfortunately, dentists rank highly on the stress-ometer. According to the British Dental Association (BDA),[i] more than half of dentists said they experienced high stress levels at work. The most common reasons for tension were fear of litigation, unhappy patients, worries regarding the GDC and pressure to meet NHS targets.

Just under half were struggling to manage stress and many were turning to alternative coping mechanisms. For example, 22.1% of survey respondents drank alcohol four or more times every week. Sadly, more than 17% had seriously considered suicide.

Physical manifestations of stress were found as well. Participants in the high stress and burnout groups reported much lower satisfaction with their general health.

Regain your balance

To help keep stress under control, it’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. That means not routinely sacrificing quality time with family or friends for overtime in the surgery. Working hard is important for career development and patient care, but you still need to look after yourself!

There are many benefits of finding a good work-life balance. Your health and wellbeing will improve. You’ll be more productive when you’re at work. You can enjoy your working day even more. You’ll stop missing out on important family and friend events.

Top tips to managing stress

To stop stress from having such a huge negative impact on your life, managing it is key. Here are some recommended stress-busters:[ii]

  • Get physical – exercise will help to reduce the intensity of emotions, helping you see the problems more clearly and find solutions.
  • Be in control – taking stock of a situation, making a plan and then actively doing something to manage it will help you feel much better.
  • ‘Me’ time – taking some time out of even the busiest of schedules will help you to rebalance your emotional and physical needs and help you relax. Why not take a break – a holiday or a couple of days to yourself to recharge?
  • Eat healthy – when life gets hectic, it’s easy to grab the nearest fast food. Try to fuel your body effectively with a well-balanced and healthy diet.
  • Work smart, not hard – there might be a solution for some recurring sources of stress. If you think there’s a better way of doings things, speak to your principal or make some changes.
  • Connect – we all need a support network of friends, family and colleagues to get through life! Having at least one person to speak to will help you unburden your mind and find fresh perspectives.

A little help from your friends

On 30th July, the United Nations celebrates an International Day of Friendship. Why not arrange to meet a friend you haven’t seen for a while? It will be a great starting point for getting back that work-life balance and could help you keep the woes of work-related stress at bay.


[i] Colin V, Toon M, O’Selmo E, Reynolds L, Whitehead P. A survey of stress, burnout and wellbeing- in UK dentists. British Dental Journal. January 2019; 226(1): 7

[ii] NHS. Health A to Z. Moodzone. 10 stress busters. Click here to visit the NHS website. [Accessed July 2019]


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