Hello SOTGC community,
So I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair, waiting to get a few numbing shots before I get a filling, and I get to thinking, I haven’t had my teeth filled in years, I bet it’s going to really hurt. Then it dawns on me, why not use mindfulness to help me deal with the pain.
Meditation is a great mindfulness practice. The idea is to learn to focus solely on the present by paying close attention to your breath. Well, the great thing about focus is that if you really focus on one thing, you can’t be focused on anything else, right? So while I’m paying attention to my breathing, noticing how it causes my chest to rise and fall, allowing each muscle group to relax all the way down to my toes and back up again, all of a sudden the dentist wants to know if I’m ok. Turns out he had already given me several shots, and I didn’t even notice. I was amazed.
So now I’m sitting there, waiting for my mouth to go completely numb and I get to thinking. Now that I’m kinda numb, it shouldn’t hurt, right? So, instead of focusing on my breathing, I am going to try to be present and experience everything that’s happening while I’m getting my filling and see what happens.
The dentist starts to go to work on my tooth, and I’m already amazed at how soft the rubber gloves feel against my lips. It feels strange on my numb cheek, but it seems like, because of the numbness, I notice the parts of my face that aren’t numb seem to have a heightened awareness. I hear a humming sound, and I realize the assistant is humming to the radio, and it’s soft and pleasant. With each moment I note something interesting, like the sound of the drill, or a comment the dentist makes. In no time he pulls out what looks like a little tiny piece of sandpaper and announces he is putting on the final touches, and then I’ll be done.
As he is smoothing everything out, he begins to talk with the assistant, and they both seem happy. It seems as though they both are right where they want to be, doing exactly what they want to do. I walked out of the dentist’s office having had the most pleasant experience one could hope to have while having a tooth drilled, and, while I was at it, I learned three great lessons.
- Sometimes being mindful and focused on one thing can help us lessen a painful situation.
- When you are mindful about everything that’s happening in the present, even when you think it might be unpleasant, you may be surprised at what you discover and learn.
- When you are surrounded by people who are happy, enjoy what they are doing, and want to do it well, it makes even tough situations tolerable.
Who knew a dentist’s visit could reveal so much? Not only has it changed the way I perceived the dentist’s office, but it also has helped me see that mindfulness is beneficial even in the most unlikely situations.
Want to be able to practice mindfulness no matter where you are? Then download my top 5 favorite infographics to help you stay mindful and motivated. (I use them all the time to help keep me on the right path)