<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1459793420724892&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Dentists: Lead Calmly, Confidently and Effectively

When we're stressed, we can make stupid decisions. That's based on science, not just anecdotes.

Holly Anne Mitchell is the founder of the LeadWell Network and the former CEO of Central Park West Dentistry. As a leadership coach for dentists, she inspires strategic entrepreneurship and confident leadership. In this interview with Patient Prism CEO Amol Nirgudkar, Holly describes effective ways to combat anxiety and depression. Best of all, these are strategies that dentists can teach their teams and teach their patients to reduce stress and empower effective decision-making.

Why Are Some People Calm and Others Anxious?

“People can go through the same experience and feel completely different,” said Holly Anne Mitchell. “One might feel anxious and have a rapid heartbeat, racing thoughts, sweaty palms and a dry mouth. Another could feel depressed, paralyzed, and have no desire to interact with others. And still other people might go through the same tough experience and feel ok. They’re able to brush it off as a tough day and bounce back.”

The reaction has to do with each person’s Zone of Tolerance, Mitchell explained. Some people are born with a nervous system that is genetically wired to be more prone to anxiety, depression and mental health challenges. They naturally have a smaller Zone of Tolerance.

In addition to nature, nurture also plays a role. Babies that are cuddled regularly feel secure in having their basic needs met, and as adults will be more likely to have neurochemicals like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine which wash away the cortisol hormones that cause high levels of stress.

Babies and children also mimic the behavior of the people around them. Children who saw their parents or caregivers feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed or more likely to grow up to be adults that feel the same way.

6 Techniques to Interrupt Patterns of Anxiety

In the video, Holly Mitchell demonstrates six techniques that can reprogram the brain to halt “anxious thoughts” and help you get you get back into the right headspace to handle the stressful situation.

The best part? You can teach these techniques to your dental patients with anxiety, too.

  1. Bilateral Stimulation: Feelings of anxiety reside in the lower right hemisphere of the brain, while effective decision-making skills reside in the front of the brain. When you feel panicked, redirect attention to the right hemisphere and front of the brain by grabbing your phone or any object and passing it from hand to hand while following it with your eyes. Even just going for a walk helps reset your brain and diffuse anxiety.
  2. Havening: This looks like you’re giving yourself a hug. There are nerve endings right under the surface of your skin cells on the upper body. When you apply pressure there, it creates delta waves, which are the same brain waves you have during deep REM sleep, and helps the body relax.
  3. Meditation: This reduces brain wave frequencies from a fast beta pattern (stress) to a slower alpha (focus and concentration).
  4. Stand up and breathe deep: Sitting cuts off the oxygen supply to the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that stimulates positive hormones.
  5. Flossing: Just another reason everyone should floss! It requires bilateral stimulation to move the floss up and down, plus requires you to lower your jaw, which reduces stress.
  6. Emotional Freedom Technique: In the video, Holly Anne Mitchell demonstrates how you can tap on acupuncture points in the body to stimulate positive brainwave frequencies and release the “positive chemicals” called serotonin and dopamine.

Techniques to Interrupt Patterns of Depression

  1. Get active: Even just getting out of bed, going for a walk, or doing any kind of exercise helps fight depression. Be sure to get your heart rate up and a good sweat going.
  2. Dance & Sing: Moving your body and singing along with your favorite band will lift your spirits.
  3. Spicy Food: Eating spicy food can cause your brain to produce serotonin and other “happy hormones.”
  4. Breath of Fire: This is an intense breathing exercise recommended by world-renowned leadership coach Tony Robbins. In the video, Holly Anne Mitchell shows how to use this technique.
  5. Laugh: Watching cat videos on YouTube really can be good for you. When you laugh, you increase the amount of oxygen you’re taking in, which stimulates your heart and other organs and increases the endorphins released by your brain.

Additional Resources

To reach Holly Anne Mitchell, visit www.LeadWellNetwork.com. She has great ideas on verbiage dentists and teams can use to effectively communicate with each other and with patients during times of stress.

For more ideas on how to overcome stress, watch our video with Jen Butler, a stress management expert, or download her guide for Coping with Unthinkable Stress here.

For more interviews with experts, training resources, and guides, visit Academy.PatientPrism.com.

There will be a huge need for dentistry once people can resume normal activities. More people than ever will have questions about safety, affordable treatment options, and what’s covered by their insurance plans post-COVID. Visit PatientPrism.com/Overview to find out how we can help your team convert more callers into booked appointments.

About the Industry Leaders:

Holly Mitchell - Profile Pic

Holly Mitchell

Leadership Coach, LeadWell Network

After beginning her career in dentistry as an unpaid intern, Holly Mitchell worked her way up to become a nationally-recognized practice manager, consultant, and public speaker in the dental field. She propelled her own dental practice, Central Park West Dentistry, to Inc. 5000's list of America's Fastest Growing Companies for five years in a row. As a repeat guest lecturer at NYU's College of Dentistry, her presentations have been described as "entertaining, informative, memorable," and "the best." Her enthusiasm for strategic entrepreneurialism inspires her team and consulting clients to confront what's not working and embrace the leader within. Holly's mission is to create sustainable growth by leveraging, engaging, and inspiring her team and coaching clients to drive profitability and promote a higher quality of life both in and outside of the office.

Connect with me:
Teresa Duncan, M.S. - Profile Pic

Teresa Duncan, M.S.

Dental Insurance Expert

Teresa is founder of Odyssey Management, author of Moving Your Patients to Yes: Easy Insurance Conversations, and a contributing author to the ADA's CDT 2017 Companion Guide. Teresa is a frequent contributor to The Observer, The Progressive Dentist, and Dr. Bicuspid publications. She served as a founding Trustee for the auxiliary-learning focused DALE Foundation. Teresa is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants and the National Speakers Association. She has been named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry by Dental Products Report Magazine and is recognized as a Leader in Consulting by Dentistry Today. Most recently she provided consulting assistance in the development of the American Dental Association's Guidelines for Practice Success™. Teresa received her master's degree in Healthcare Management from Marymount University.

Turn More Callers Into Patients

Discover how to increase your new patient revenue.


Access More Than 900 Videos


Patient Prism Academy's Learning Management System features hundreds of training videos from top industry experts.