Life is stressful! For some, handling the stress and anxiety of everyday life can be a serious challenge. One area that many people don’t realize is affected by stress is the jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which connects the jaw to the skull, is a very complex joint. It can be felt by placing your hands on each side of your face just under your ears and opening and closing your jaw.
When stress hits, many people unconsciously begin clenching their jaw or even grinding their teeth, a condition known as bruxism. In many cases, bruxism can occur at night during sleep, so many people are unaware it’s even happening. Taking measures to reduce stress in your daily life can help with these side effects of stress that can really harm your oral health. If the factors causing stress in your life are unavoidable, it may be time to find new ways to manage your stress so at least it may affect you less physically. Here are a few tips to try for stress relief:
Tip 1: Take a Break and Move
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress levels. Even if your day is jam packed with things you need to do, try taking a 20- to 30-minute walk after lunch to make sure you get your body moving and your mind relaxing. Another great way to get in your exercise while reducing stress and anxiety is hitting the pool or beach as often as you can. Floating has been proven to help reduce stress and tension, and the smells and sounds of the beach have also been researched extensively and found to be a great stress reliever.
Tip 2: Get Comfortable Meditating
Research consistency shows the benefits of meditation for your overall health and especially for your mental health when it comes to stress, anxiety and even depression. Meditation can be hard for people to get used to as we are so programmed to stay in “go go go” mode; shutting off and truly quieting your mind can feel odd at first. Keep at it, and before long you will begin to long for your meditation time each day.
Tip 3: Write It Out
When you can’t stop thinking about all the things you need to get done, it can be hard to relax or fall asleep at night. One of the best ways to fix this is by keeping a notebook beside your bed at night. When stress hits, begin to make a list of all the things you need to get done. Once you know it’s written down, your brain may no longer feel the need to keep you awake thinking about it. It’s also good to journal about your stress. This often helps you organize your thoughts and decide what is worth stressing about and what maybe wasn’t as big of a deal as you thought at first.
For more help with TMJ disorder symptoms, or if you’ve never been evaluated for TMJ disorder but think you may be experiencing symptoms of it, call us today at 970-221-5115.