It always cracks me up when people say, ‘I hate going to the doctor’. As if there are actually people who can’t wait to go. As if there are people who look forward to getting some quality time with their GP. I mean, seriously. Who wouldn’t prefer to be anywhere other than a doctor’s office?

Well last month I caught myself being a hypocrite. Instead of the doctor it was the dentist. I really struggle with the dentist. And by ‘struggle’ I mean I panic, choke, drool, and breathe heavily like that creepy kid who sat behind you in study hall back in the day.

This is why my dentist gives me nitrous.

So there I was in the chair inhaling nitrous like my eternal psychological well-being depended on it when occurred to me I’d been complaining about this dental appointment for weeks. Just like people who complain about the doctor. And that’s when it hit me. I could probably change my experience in the chair if I could change my mindset. In fact I knew someone who had done this over the last couple of years. That person is my partner. Let’s call him Jim, because that’s his real name.

In spite of being the funniest person I’ve ever met, Jim can come across as a morose and gloomy customer. To this point, he’s been nicknamed Eeyore by friends throughout his life. Awhile back he began doing something that started out as a joke, but ended up changing his life experience. When anyone would ask him how he was, he jubilantly replied with a huge smile, ‘I’m having the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE’! The recipient of this response would bust up laughing and smile in return. Slowly, Jim’s outlook began to change. He started feeling like he was really having a really good day. It’s made such an impact that a barista at his coffee shop who struggles with winter blues says that his daily greeting makes her feel better each time she sees him.

After the nitrous was out of my system I went about my day, deciding to employ Jim’s technique. I mentioned to various people I’d been to the dentist that morning. Each time I got sympathetic replies. Rather than bemoan my experience, I Jim’d my way through the conversation.

‘Are you kidding me?!?!? It was great! Look at my awesome teeth! NO CAVITIES!’ Then I gave them a pretty smile. Well… more of a pretty toothsome smile. In fact I probably looked like I was aggressively baring my teeth, but hey, I’m new to this. Hopefully I’ll nail down the perfect smile over time. And hopefully, by speaking positively about something I’ve barely tolerated over the years, my mindset will change. Maybe I’ll be able to say I love look forward to my semi-annual cleanings this time next year.

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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