It’s certainly no secret, especially to dentists and their families, that the dental profession is an inevitably stressful career. The multifaceted role that a dentist plays–as a clinician, an entrepreneur, a manager, a lab technician (perhaps dental students like me assume this role more than actual dentists), a therapist, and in several ways, an artist–establishes a natural tendency towards perfectionism. After all, financial success for the dental business owner does depend on the dentist’s ability to succeed in all of these facets. Proper fulfillment of these roles demands paying continuous and precise attention to detail during diagnosis and treatment, satisfying patient’s and staff’s evolving needs, and, perhaps most importantly, nurturing the dentist’s own mental health.
Juggling all of these responsibilities in a productive and time-efficient manner takes an incredible toll on the mental health of dentists. It’s no surprise that dentists rank #2, after medical doctors, in careers with the highest suicide rates.
An interesting article I ran across uses empirical data to prescribe a most natural kind of medication to alleviate stress–for dentists, physicians and, quite frankly, anyone with a stressful career or lifestyle–called horses.
Apparently, this mysterious creature’s heart emits an electromagnetic field five times larger than the human heart (which translates to a field extending 40-50 feet from the horse’s body!) According to research, a horse’s electromagnetic field directly influences the nearby human’s own heart rhythm by increasing its coherence–and a heart with increased coherence is directly associated with tranquility, happiness and well-being.
In fact, the physiological and psychological benefits of being around horses don’t stop there; research shows decreased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced feelings of stress, anxiety and anger, increased levels of endorphins, heightened feelings of empowerment, patience and self-efficacy, and the list goes on. Several of these effects work together to alleviate depression, which recent research has associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Bethany Piziks, a dentist and certified life-coach, incorporates this surprisingly effective method in coaching her clients. She uses a method called “Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM)”, in which two life coaches, a horse and a human, work to help dentists alleviate stress, depression and work through longstanding personal-dilemmas to promote self-development. The outcomes achieved by her client’s are pretty incredible. Highly recommend this article to any and all stressed individuals!
Sources: Stress in the dental profession and why a horse could save your life”, Top 11 professions with highest suicide rates, Depression and Cardiovascular Problems
By Munir Gomaa