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The pandemic experience has heightened our need to remain positive and eliminate as much stress as we can. Stress Management and Business Consultant Jen Butler, reminds us that the power of words in our daily life can impact how our day is going to play out. And in a busy dental practice or dental service organization, positive attitude will attract and foster positive attitude in others. 


No matter what type of dental practice you are in -- maybe a private practice, a group practice, or dental service organization (DSO), the words you say to yourself (and out loud) reflect and affect how you experience your daily life. This has impact on everyone around you … coworkers and patients … and your families and pets when you are at home.

Managing our thoughts and what we say requires some intentional self-control. To build this mindful habit will take willpower. To help with this, we can keep in mind that four words, in particular, have a lot of power. This power can be negative or positive, depending upon how we use the words and think about them.

The goal is to make your daily life more enjoyable for yourself and others. This is the type of environment in which passion for what you do and high performance will grow.


Replace the Words “Have to”

You actually reduce stress and switch to a positive mindset if you say, "I get to" instead of “I have to.” You can train yourself to do this!

Saying "I have to go to work today. I have to get my kids dressed. I have to drive in this traffic. I have to see this patient. I have to hire a new person..." adds stress to your life. It means that we feel stuck in not having a choice. By replacing “have to” with “get to” your attitude becomes one of “I get to spend time with my kids. I get to spend time listening to music or a podcast or catch up on the news in my drive to work. I get to hire someone wonderful who will help us expand the practice.” 

As you get up and start your day, be grateful for time with your family, alone time on your drive, and opportunities that await you when you arrive at your office. 

If “get to” isn’t a phrase that resonates with you, try “I’m lucky to” or “I want to.” Say “I’m lucky to go to work. I want to go to the gym.


Think of "More" in a Positive Way

The word "more" can be applied to the condition of being greedy or selfish, or it can be applied to being very giving or greater achievement. When you think in terms of “I want to laugh more. I want to exercise more. I want to achieve more. I want to love more.” Like New Year’s resolutions, the word “more” should not be used to chastise yourself but to give you fresh energy to hope and aspire to achieve personal goals.

Don’t say to yourself, “I have to do more.” Don’t say to others, “We have to do more.” Instead say, “I (we) have the opportunity to do more that will have wonderful results.” These words foster feelings of hope and lead to goal setting and strategies based on a “can do” attitude.  


Add “Yet” to the End of Sentences

So often we have a litany of statements and self-deprecating language in our head, for example, “I can't, I shouldn't, and I won't."  But if you add the three-letter word "yet" to the end of any sentence, you give yourself and others hope. You reinforce the future possibility. For example, “We can’t support an additional dental practice location yet.” The word "yet" means you will one day be able to do so, and you can start charting your path to get there.


Are You Doing "Enough" to Achieve Goals?

Sometimes it takes longer or more effort to do enough to achieve your goals. For example, when you step on the scale and have not lost weight, you can whine and say to yourself, “But I ate so healthy.” Alternatively, you can say, “Well, I guess I didn’t burn enough calories this week. Next week I get to (want to) lose more. I wonder what lifestyle changes I can make?” Notice the use of the words “get to” instead of “have to” in that example.

The word “enough” allows us to reflect upon just how much is enough to get the results that we really want. The question of how much effort or what kind of effort will be enough to get to the next level of skill … performance … stable profitability … positive culture promoting wellness for all involved … team expansion or practice growth is a good question to have in mind every day as you lead your dental practice or DSO.  


Stress Elimination Built on Positive Attitude

One of the primary principles of stress elimination is self-care. Our minds need to restore energy to battle burnout. A positive attitude throughout your day repletes energy lost while you roll with unexpected obstacles and emotions. A happy dental practice, a happy workplace, requires everyone doing their part to maintain a positive attitude towards their work, each other, and the clients served. 

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