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10 Cures for the Daily Grind

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“I dread going into my office. There’s no fun in it and people are there just to collect a paycheck.” This quote from a doc sounds like most other practitioners I talk with every day. Work has turned into a daily grind, which adds to the pressure, stress and thoughts of doubt that you made the right career choice. There is one sure fire cure for thinking/feeling/seeing dentistry as a daily grind and that is to have more fun at work.

We think fun and humor is a natural occurrence in life. Reality check, it’s not. There’s a level of expectation and desire for life to be fun and exciting so it’s easy to become frustrated with work and relationships when they turn into the dreads and doldrums.

Documented Benefits

Just like romance in a relationship or success for a business, fun and humor take intention, planning, some prep work, and daily nurturing. Modern technology has allowed researchers to document the chemical, biological and physiological benefits of laughter. Here are just a few of the more well documented benefits:

  • Relieves physical tension and relaxes the whole body
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins give a sense of well-being and are the body’s natural, feel-good, chemicals.
  • Protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow; two key components of any cardiovascular benefit
  • Increases oxygen intake throughout the entire body, which energizes muscles and stimulates organs
  • Decreases blood sugar levels by stimulating the endocrine system
  • Reduces pain receptors allowing for pain-free treatments
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm, abs, respiratory, facial, and back muscles. Who needs the gym?!
  • Lowers stress hormone levels such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increases alertness, creativity, and memory

10 Ideas to Get Started

It doesn’t take much effort to thread more humor into your practice; it does take a bit of planning. Here are a few ideas where you can continue to be the professional you are while gaining the advantages of laughter too:

  1.  Start every huddle with a joke everyone can enjoy. Invite your team to participate and bring a joke each day.
  2.  Subscribe to YouTube channels that are motivational, inspirational, and funny.
  3.  Buy daily calendars with comic jokes on them, the kinds you peal off each day. Place them in each op, lab, lobby, and your office. Change it up so that there is a different calendar in each area. Don’t let the team throw away the really funny ones. Tack them up on a bulletin board or several of them around your office.
  4.  Encourage your team to be more silly in the office- laughter is contagious. Don’t believe me, watch Contagious Subway Laughter and try not to laugh yourself.
  5.  Make silly, team videos- take the mouthguard challenge- and post them to your office Facebook page. Dentists often want their patients to see them as serious, professional doctors. Any patient would rather spend an hour with a doctor that engages them and makes them laugh than one whom is dry and formal.
  6. Encourage your team to wear scrubs with printed images on them, funny t-shirts, and silly outfits (on special days). If you don’t think that is also great marketing we need to talk.
  7. Play comedies that are family friendly throughout your office (I Love Lucy, Golden Girls, Sponge Bob, Carol Burnet Show, America’s Funniest Videos).
  8. Laugh at yourself. If you laugh at things you do then you give permission for other’s to laugh as well.
  9. Look for the funny in things. When you intentionally look for humorous situations they start appearing everywhere. The share the funny stories- kids and animals are typically family friendly.
  10. Hang out with funny people and share their stories. If you’re not naturally funny, find someone that is.

Make it a goal to start threading in more humor next month. For now get your calendar out, do some research, and add the jokes you are going to tell, videos to watch, movies to play, and themes you and the team will have to each month and day. If this seems daunting for you, delegate this to the person with the largest funny bone in the office.

They’ll love the project and everyone will benefit from less stress.

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