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How to Easily Integrate Meditation into Your Daily Life (Plus 3 Ridiculous Myths about Meditation)

I can’t help but smile when I hear some of the things that people still believe about meditation. Thanks to flashy stage shows that are created at theme parks and parties for entertainment, our modern society still has some incorrect beliefs about this age-old practice.

As a medical professional (I am a Registered Nurse), I can confidently say that meditation is none of the following things:

  • Meditation is not mind control…
  • Meditation is not a religion…
  • Meditation is not “turning off your brain.”

In fact, meditation has a wonderful track record of lowering stress levels, boosting the immune system, decreasing anxiety and depression, and much more (I love this article from PsychologyToday.com that expands on the benefits of meditation).

When you’re new to the practice of quieting your mind, it can feel daunting. Here are some ways to gently ease yourself into a more peaceful state, even when you’re feeling too busy or stressed to set aside time for meditation.

Easy Meditation Method #1: Connect with Nature

Connecting with nature can be as simple as looking out your office window at the trees outside that are gently swaying in the afternoon breeze. Or maybe if you can’t see any trees (or you don’t have a window), sit outside to eat your lunch. Simple!

Even spending one minute gazing at greenery or listening to birds chirp as you dig into your turkey avocado will help you feel more relaxed, centered and focused. You’ll find that when you come back from your little “mind break” you will more easily be able to dive into your work.

Easy Meditation Method #2: Focus on Your Breath

Reconnecting with your body and breath is a pillar of meditation; it brings you into the present. If you work a particularly stressful job or you find yourself beating your fists against the steering wheel in panic-inducing traffic, bring your thoughts back to your breath.

Slowing your breath for even just a few moments will help you become more grounded and centered. It will also lower your blood pressure and tell your body that it doesn’t need a shot of Cortisol (the stress hormone), after all.

Easy Meditation Method #3: Every Effort Counts

People often believe that in order to properly meditate they have to sit still for hours and clear their mind. Not true! Just like anything – exercise is a great example – meditation is a muscle that must be strengthened. If you decided to run a marathon for the first time in your life, you wouldn’t just wake up tomorrow and start running 26.1 miles. You would run maybe a quarter mile tomorrow, then a half mile the next day and so on.

You can ease into meditation in much the same way: slowly and with care. Every time you dedicate 60 seconds to focused breathing during your workday you’re making progress toward a more centered, peaceful life experience.

A Real Life Meditation Story

Not too long ago, a busy executive came to my meditation class. She told me, “I can meditate before I go to work and I feel calm, but as soon as I set foot in the office, I’m totally stressed out.”

She explained that she was surrounded by people all the time and couldn’t close her eyes during the workday because they would think she had fallen asleep.

“That’s fine,” I told her, “let’s try something else. Drink a glass of water every hour to remind yourself to go to the bathroom. As you walk to the restroom, focus on your breath.” That solution worked as a great way for her to meditate through the day.

There are many creative and fun ways to integrate small doses of meditation into your life that will greatly affect your wellbeing and health. If you’re ready to learn more about meditation, let’s talk! Visit my contact page to connect today.

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Dental Office Phone Etiquette: Does Your Practice Make the Cut?

You only have one chance to make a first impression.

When a new patient seeks out your dental office, it may be for any number of reasons. She is likely a woman, and she is probably calling you for one of the five following reasons:

  1. She is new to the area,
  2. She had a bad experience somewhere else and needs a new dentist,
  3. She has avoided the dentist due to fear/anxiety, but now she can no longer ignore her situation,
  4. She has put off her dental visits until now because of dental costs,
  5. She does not perceive a need for dental work.

After she sees your website, her interaction with your office over the phone will be the first in-person contact she has with your team. Whatever the reason for this woman to have looked up your office and taken the time to pick up the phone, it is critical that your staff is equipped to answer the call and make a stellar first impression.

There are 5 key aspects to handling phone calls expertly and professionally. In this blog post, I talk about the first three. Does your office make the cut?

Aspect 1: Greeting

Within the first five seconds of the phone call, the patient will have an impression of your office. In her mind, she will decide if your office is friendly, caring and professional and whether you have the ability to provide what she needs in a dental office.

Be enthusiastic. No one wants to go to a place where the person who answers the phone sounds like she’s just passing the time until her lunch hour. The patient needs to know that you are happy that she called and that you can help her.

Here’s a sample script:

“Thank you for calling the office of Dr. Smith! My name is Jane, how can we make you smile today?”

Friendly, welcoming and direct is the best way to answer the phone.

Aspect 2: Ask and Answer Questions

At this point, it’s important to gather some information from the patient. Is she an existing patient? A new patient? This is also a time where the patient has an opportunity to ask some questions of her own.

Listen carefully. It’s best to keep a pen and paper next to the phone so whoever answers can take notes on the patient’s needs.

It is very important to carefully listen to what the potential patient says so you can best serve her. Offer short, positive answers to her questions. If the patient starts asking about insurance, fees and scheduling, use your office’s scripted answers* and then firmly take back control of the conversation by moving into the Transition portion of the call.

Aspect 3: Transition

Once you have welcomed the new patient via your greeting and answered any preliminary questions, it’s time to transition them into scheduling their first appointment. Remember: the objective is to get the patient in the door feeling really good about her first appointment.

Take control of the call. At this point, whoever answered the phone must have control over the call to get an appointment scheduled.

Here is a sample script:

“How did you hear about our office?”

 Once, she responds, move immediately into scheduling an appointment with:

“That’s great! Let me be the first to welcome you. Which do you prefer, Monday or Tuesday of next week?”

A confused mind says ‘no.’ When speaking to potential patients over the phone to schedule an appointment, avoid giving them too many options or asking open-ended questions. Present them two choices (“Morning or afternoon? 10 am or 11 am?”) and they will more easily be able to say yes to scheduling an appointment.

There is so much information about phone etiquette that it couldn’t possibly be covered in a single blog post. Next week, I’ll share two more keys to great phone etiquette that will increase the success of your office.

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There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking to hire an attorney. Too frequently, the biggest concern on a client’s mind is how much an attorney is going to cost. They interview too many lawyers looking for the one who wants the smallest retainer and the lowest hourly fee.

The question I normally ask people when they’re letting price dictate their decision making process is this: if you need a heart transplant, are you going to go with the board certified surgeon who tells you it’ll cost $100K or the recent med school grad who comes in at $50K?

It’s understandable that you might not want to hire someone who’s so expensive it’ll break your bank, but the old adage holds true: you get what you pay for.

Money Is Only One Factor

The next consideration after cost is experience. It’s really important to know whether the person you’re considering is adequately experienced to handle your case. This can be a bit of a challenge.

If you look at some attorney’s websites, you’ll find people who have been in business for only four years and claim to have dealt with millions of dollars of assets and thousands of cases. Some people are classified as “Super Lawyers.” Like anything else, some of these rating services may not be very accurate, and the attorney’s ratings could have been influenced by the amount they spend on advertising..

Not All Ratings Services Are Created Equal

In my opinion, many of these services are a scam. If you pay them money to advertise, then you get better ratings. It’s that simple.

Additionally the ratings tend to come from clients, and clients can often be the worst people to judge an attorney’s ability. I can do an excellent job in the court room, but, if the case goes against us, then the client is angry and my ratings plummet.

Martindale-Hubbell is an online ratings service that solicits ratings from attorneys and judges. These are the people who know and understand what makes for a good attorney. Remember, just because someone has a great website, does not mean that they’re a great lawyer. You have to do a little research.

Is it a Fit?

The last thing you need to consider when looking for an attorney is whether the person has the right personality for you. Some attorneys are extremely aggressive and will be happy to start additional fights on your behalf. Some lawyers are more laid back. Some want input from clients and some want their clients to stay quiet.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which attorney is the right fit in your particular situation. Do a little work beforehand and avoid problems down the line.

If you are considering hiring an attorney, call our office today to set up a free consultation.