Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 05 Less Stress 1

Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Margin — do you have it in your dental practice?

May 5, 2015
Getting rid of stress is a conscious decision that takes a little bit of effort on the part of the dentist/boss, but it will pay off in the long run and become second nature. A stress-free life can be even more productive.
Only one quarter into 2015 and stress is reigning once again. At least that’s what I hear from many dental team members and doctors. Why? What are the sources of all this stress? There are reasons for stress in dental practices—not enough time, not enough money, and people. Well, people just do silly people things.
Admittedly, there is not much we can offer regarding people.

But with regard to time and money, Pride Institute has tried and true systems for scheduling, financial arrangements/collections, marketing, continuing care, and new patient processes. When in place, these systems will reduce the stress of not enough time or money.

This Tuesday Tip is about what you can do about stress both in and out of the office. I recently had the opportunity to attend a retreat with renowned author, Richard A. Swenson, M.D., to hear him speak about stress. He taught from his book, Margin, which has the subtitle, Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.

There is positive stress and negative stress. He said we should be grateful for positive stress because high stress will kill you and low stress is boring. Dr. Swenson shared some tips for bringing negative stress levels down a few notches immediately, including getting a dog (!), or using what he calls the ”free three”—laughter, music, and nature.

For long-term management of stress, the key is to restore margin into your life. Margin is the intentional placement of critical space into daily life. Dr. Swenson says, “Margin is where we can recharge our batteries, recover our health, rest our body and spirit, nourish relationships, and think about our priorities.” Most people don’t even realize they have no margin in their life. Hearing his message certainly hit me right between the eyes!

Dr. Swenson taught strategies to bring margin back into our lives in the areas of time, and physical, emotional, and financial well-being. As in all circumstances, the bottom line for the motivation to change is in the “why”? What’s in it for me (WIIFM)? Dr. Swenson says that the WIIFM is to live a life not filled with the negative stress of overload, but filled with contentment. A life of contentment is a life focused on purpose and on what matters most. This kind of life has margin in place. Margin gives us the time to differentiate between the urgent and the important. It is the answer to many of our troubles because it’s accompanied by peace and freedom.

Before this year slips away and becomes just another year filled with stress, take some time to reflect on your life, both in and out of the office. Do you have margin in place? If not, why? Dr. Swenson’s book, Margin, offers 75 practical prescriptions for restoring margin in the essential areas of your life. It means relieving stress and gaining the ability to focus on what is important instead of being driven by what is urgent.

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Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column in DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit, and like them on Facebook.