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Stress Management in Dental School

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It is no secret that dental school is not easy.  Between numerous exams, lab projects, and/or clinical responsibilities, the life of a dental student can become quite stressful at times. It is essential that dental students find outlets to manage their stress appropriately to reduce anxiety.  There are many options that provide stress relief for dental students; you just have to find an option(s) that works for you. 

At the Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD), we are fortunate to have a large gym near the dental school which caters to undergraduate and graduate students.  It is not rare to see many of my colleagues and even professors at the gym before or after classes and clinics.  Joining a gym near your dental school not only makes it convenient since time is limited, but also gives you the opportunity to reduce stress with your colleagues.  I often find my classmates working out together, which makes stress management fun and enjoyable. Many gyms provide student rates and offer a variety of programs/classes to cater to your unique interests.  You can’t go wrong with a gym that offers diverse options! 

Yoga has become a very popular option for stress reduction among dental students.  As a matter of fact, many ASDA chapters are incorporating yoga classes into their wellness initiatives at their schools.  Ross Brenner, a third year dental student at IUSD first experienced yoga during IU ASDA’s complimentary yoga class this past December. He now practices hot yoga and says, “There's nothing like hot yoga that takes stress away. Every time I finish a session, I feel clear and ready to tackle what's ahead of me.” Practicing yoga offers many benefits such as meditation and relaxation, which can help release the day-to-day stressors of dental school.  Many yoga studios provide student discounts, which can make memberships affordable. Personally, yoga is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and anxiety from dental school. It has been a great option for me ever since I started dental school. 

After big exams and hours of studying, my classmates and I plan fun events for everyone to enjoy, which provides a chance for everyone to hang out outside of school.  I highly recommend this option to you and your colleagues.  You can attend professional sports games or catch the latest movie out in theaters.  Regardless, checking out new experiences with your colleagues outside of dental school and without scrubs can be an exciting occasion to reduce anxiety.  In addition, it will give you the opportunity to know your classmates better!  

Stress is inevitable during dental school.  The key is managing the stressors appropriately to maintain a positive outlook during your dental school career.  There are many outlets to choose from like working out or trying new activities with your colleagues.  Either way, it is essential to discover methods in managing your stress to make dental school enjoyable and exciting.  Take a break from the books and go find what helps you reduce stress!