Helpful Ways to Deal With Stress
Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, approximately 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. This is further heightened by the events that have transpired over the past few months. Individuals who have never experienced stress before are confused about what they are feeling. Stress is how the body reacts to and handles harmful situations, but ongoing stress can manifest in physical ways, like teeth clenching. Clenching teeth puts additional strain on the jaw muscles and increases the pressure on the jaw joint. Symptoms experienced can range from a sore jaw, muscle pain, tooth pain, or headaches as a result. Those who experience issues with TMD need to be particularly mindful of their stress levels. A recent article in The New York Times, mentions all of these symptoms and more as they relate to stress in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Learning to manage stress can help relieve these symptoms.
Try the following steps to manage and reduce stress:
- Identify stressors – document the times of day or things in your day or life that cause stress. When a pattern of stress is realized, it can be managed and eliminated.
- Adjust your situation – prepare ahead for situations that may become stressful. Set goals and priorities to decide what has to get done and what can wait. Learn to say no to things that will become overwhelming. Ask for help if needed.
- Alter your response – if a stressor cannot be avoided, change your response. Don’t just react, but take a breath and try to find the solution that best fits your needs.
- Accept when things are out of your control – learn to let things go and make a list of what you are grateful for.
- Live healthy – set a goal to get on a regular sleep schedule striving for eight hours. Exercising for 30 minutes three to five days a week can also help. Exercise as simple as a brisk walk, yoga, or stretching can greatly improve your mood and eliminate feelings of stress.
- Be mindful of your body cues – if you are experiencing headaches, jaw pain, or tooth pain, evaluate if you are involved in a stressful situation and try to pinpoint what is causing the stress or anxiety.
Reducing your stress and anxiety is necessary for calming your mind and releasing tension from your muscles. It can also help with teeth clenching, sore jaw muscles and other symptoms experienced with TMD. Dealing with and managing stress is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Hopefully, one of the suggestions above can help you manage your stress levels. If you suffer from TMD, please contact our office in Poulsbo, WA, and we will be happy to answer your questions and customize a treatment plan to help you.
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