Want to deliver better patient care? Here's 4 ways mindfulness can help

Mindfulness. It’s nothing new. It’s been around for thousands of years with its origins being traced back to several ancient traditions including Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. But, over the past 50 years, mindfulness has gained increased attention from researchers showing that mindfulness can not only improve our focus, performance, and overall health, but can also enhance how we care for others. 

Here’s 4 ways mindfulness helps improve patient care:

  1. Being Present. The definition of mindfulness is ‘being aware of our moment-to-moment experience with a sense of curiosity and without judgement’ Mindfulness helps us to be fully present with others, listening attentively and picking up non-verbal cues that we might otherwise miss. It also reduces our chances of making costly mistakes.
  1. Reduced Anxiety Mindfulness techniques can help us regulate our nervous system and in doing so, create a calm and reassuring environment, reducing not only our own stress levels but also calming anxious or aggressive patients.
  1. Clear Communication. Cultivating a calm and balanced state before communicating with staff or patients makes a big difference. Mindfulness gives us access to the higher thinking parts of our brain that helps us to communicate with empathy and compassion.
  1. Enhanced Pain Management. Mindfulness tools don’t just help the dentist, they can be shared with patients who are experiencing pain or discomfort during procedures. This non-judgmental awareness can change the way the brain processes pain signals, leading to a reduction in the perceived intensity of pain.

The good news is, mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and at anytime. By incorporating short mindfulness practices into the day, dentists can improve their own performance and improve patient care.

Check out the Mindful Check Up resource provided by ADA SA for quick tips on how to practice mindfulness at work

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Amanda Goodfellow
Director, Agile Mind