Mindfulness in Dental School
Let me present you with an equation we are all regretfully very familiar with:
Stress + Sleep deprivation + Constant mental exertion = Dental School
We sit in lecture and we practice in clinic. We study and we work on projects and presentations. After hours we organize meetings and events for our extracurricular activities and we do lab work. And in every other free moment, we stress about clinic cases and whether we’re doing the best for our patients. So where in these jam-packed days are we supposed to find time to focus on ourselves and our wellbeing?
With everything we have going on, people often laugh at the suggestion of making time to practice mindfulness. However, I would argue that mindfulness can be made a part of your everyday life with minimal effort. Here are 3 ways to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine:
Mobile Apps: Did you know there are apps with free guided meditations? A couple well known ones are Calm and Headspace. Whichever app you choose you will see that there are several guided meditations of different formats at your fingertips. From as short as 3 minutes to as long as 30 minutes, this is a free and simple tool that can be accessed any time you have just a few minutes to spare. It will also notify you with a daily reminder to aid in compliance!
YouTube: As we all know, YouTube has pretty much everything you could ever imagine and more. In the realm of wellness, you can find guided meditations, yoga routines, or simply calming nature sounds. So whether you have time to roll out a mat or just close your eyes and breathe to the sound of ocean waves for a few minutes, the opportunity for self-care is there just waiting to be accessed.
Yogic Breathing: Once you learn this simple breathing technique, it can be done at any time with no other resources needed. The technique breaks the breath up into 3 parts: the abdomen, the rib cage, and the upper chest. Inhale slowly for 6 counts focusing on filling your lungs from the most superior point to the most inferior point. (2 counts upper chest, 2 counts rib cage, 2 counts abdomen.) Then exhale, emptying your lungs from the most inferior point to the most superior point. (2 counts abdomen, 2 counts rib cage, 2 counts upper chest.) Repeat this cycle for a set amount of time. Can be combined with silent timed mediations available on free mobile apps.This deep breath allows for maximum oxygenation of the blood, which will then go fuel your brain, muscles, and organs. Just one minute of yogic breathing during a study break can rejuvenate you and increase your productivity as you continue to grind.
The key to practicing mindfulness is having pure intentions. It does not matter how you do it, how long you do it, or how well you do it. As long as you are taking time to turn your focus internally, to breathe with the intention of not only feeding the body but feeding the soul, to appreciate the present moment and honor what your body is feeling without judgement.
Keep calm & be mindful.
Blog Contributor: Erin Down, Stony Brook '20
- ASDA VP
- Stitchers club President
- Golf club VP
- Outreach Golf & Bowling fundraisers chief event coordinator
- TA for biomedical sciences, dental morphology, removable & fixed prosthodontics