5 reasons why as a dentist, you should consider a trip to the mountains.
It’s no secret that as Dentists, our profession is one that is loaded with stress. If it’s not the anxious patients that we all see every week, it’s the challenges we can face running our business, staff or the case that turned into an unexpected surgical, and you have a line of patients waiting in your reception area. In a 2019 survey conducted in the UK, 54.9% of dentists reported experiencing high stress at the work place and among General Dental Practitioners the proportion was even higher1. The pandemic exacerbated this with the prevalence of anxiety-related symptoms was 71%, depression-related symptoms were 60%, and stress was 92% among dentist surveyed during the COVID-19 pandemic(1,2,3).
In recent years there has been a wealth of research that has confirmed the positive benefits that nature can provide to those suffering from depression, anxiety and other related mental health issues (4). Access to nature has also shown to improve sleep, reduce stress5 and increases happiness(6). The positive effects of nature extend beyond just its impact on mental health, it’s also been proven to improved memory(7). There is still more to learn about how exposure to nature affects our health, but so far, the positive effects are numerous.
The mountains are a place with plentiful unspoiled nature and here are 5 reasons why you and your dental practice would probably benefit from spending a couple of days in one of the most beautiful mountains this earth has to offer -the Alps!
1. A different vantage point
As insurmountable as problems can feel, they are manageable. Conquering a mountain on foot while hiking or riding down on skis teaches us that all problems can be tackled. They give us perspective and remove us from the immediacy of our stress creators. Nature improves our creativity8 and problem-solving capacity.
2. Open space and beautiful scenery
Let’s look at our office space and then look at the space we work in. A mouth is small! Looking out at huge open spaces does wonders for our mental health. Experts say even viewing scenes of nature “reduces anger, fear, and stress, and increases pleasant feelings.” Specifically, nature has the power to restore, soothe and heal.
3. Vegetation and trees
Shinrin Yoku or ‘forest bathing’ a Japanese practice of immersing one’s self in nature and mindfulness has also been shown to be linked to improvements in mental health(9).
4. Connect with yourself and others
Mountains can be a solitary experience that’s enriching. More often than not, they are one that builds our community and help us connect and improve our sense of well-being(10,11).
Adrenaline sports (and most sports in fact) are a known releasor of endorphins. Endorphins are a powerful mood booster, and who doesn’t want some of that.
So, all in all, a trip to the mountains is a good idea. Plan yours now, I look forward to seeing you at Destination Dental’s inaugural conference in the Alps for more information visit www.destination-cpd.com.
Collin V, Toon M, O'Selmo E, Reynolds L, Whitehead P. A survey of stress, burnout and well-being in UK dentists. Br Dent J. 2019 Jan 11;226(1):40-49. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2019.6. PMID: 30631165.
Ranka MS, Ranka SR. Survey of Mental Health of Dentists in the COVID-19 Pandemic in the UK. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2021 Jan 30;11(1):104-108. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_401_20. PMID: 33688480; PMCID: PMC7934820.
American Dental Association. 2015 Dentists Well-Being Survey. Chicago: American Dental Association; 2017.
Cohen-Cline H, Turkheimer E, Duncan GE. Access to green space, physical activity and mental health: a twin study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2015 Jun;69(6):523-9. doi: 10.1136/jech-2014-204667. Epub 2015 Jan 28. PMID: 25631858; PMCID: PMC4430417
Grigsby-Toussaint DS, Turi KN, Krupa M, Williams NJ, Pandi-Perumal SR, Jean-Louis G. Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Prev Med. 2015 Sep;78:78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.07.011. Epub 2015 Jul 17. PMID: 26193624; PMCID: PMC4818157.
White MP, Alcock I, Wheeler BW, Depledge MH. Would you be happier living in a greener urban area? A fixed-effects analysis of panel data. Psychol Sci. 2013 Jun;24(6):920-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797612464659. Epub 2013 Apr 23. PMID: 23613211.
Berman MG, Kross E, Krpan KM, Askren MK, Burson A, Deldin PJ, Kaplan S, Sherdell L, Gotlib IH, Jonides J. Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. J Affect Disord. 2012 Nov;140(3):300-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.03.012. Epub 2012 Mar 31. PMID: 22464936; PMCID: PMC3393816.
Trine Plambech, Cecil C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch, The impact of nature on creativity – A study among Danish creative professionals, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening,Volume 14, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 255-263,
Lee I, Choi H, Bang KS, Kim S, Song MK, Lee B. Effects of forest therapy on depressive symptoms among adults: A systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Mar 20;14(3).
Mushtaq R, Shoib S, Shah T, Mushtaq S. Relationship between loneliness, psychiatric disorders and physical health? A review on the psychological aspects of loneliness. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8(9):WE01–4.
Nyqvist F, Forsman AK, Giuntoli G, Cattan M. Social capital as a resource for mental well-being in older people: A systematic review. Aging Ment Heal. 2013 May 1;17(4):394–410.