When a computer becomes overrun with more information than its processor can handle, it crashes. The human brain responds much the same. Take me, for example. I recently wrapped up an ordinary day in the life of a third-year dental student. I had lectures in the morning and treated patients in the afternoon. On the ride home, something felt off. Everything I needed to get done was passing through my mind. I needed to study, finish lab work and prepare a treatment plan for tomorrow’s patient. Aside from school responsibilities, my wife needed me to get groceries. I got home, dropped my bag and knelt on the floor. All at once, those thoughts flooded my brain and I could not move. I just sat there, emotional and frozen.
We all want to feel accepted, included and a part of something bigger. For most of us, becoming a dentist was once just a dream. Now we have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop skills to achieve our dream. Dentistry is a social, collaborative and interactive profession that requires empathy, compassion and respect. We work hard so that, one day, we can take care of our patients. However, the environment of dental school can exacerbate existing insecurities. As a consequence, we sometimes forget how to take care of ourselves and our peers.
ASDA has designated September as Wellness Month. Managing your mental health is major factor in maintaining overall wellness.
Multiple studies have been used to measure stress among dental students. The primary stressors reported by students include examinations, grades, and workload. Students reported that the effects of chronic stress resulted in mood changes, frustration, and decreased concentration. Some students even reported changes in behavior like developing smoking habits and substance abuse.
If stress can be identified early, action can be taken before the pressure becomes a problem. The American Psychological Association has published several tips to help you manage stress…
In the wake of the tragic loss of ASDA Past President Jiwon Lee in 2014, an association-wide wellness initiative was launched. ASDA has identified and/or created several resources to help its members maintain physical and emotional health, and mental well-being. Here are a few you should check out and share with classmates.