Stress affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, about 77% of people reported that they experienced physical symptoms due to their stress. While you’re not alone in feeling stressed, especially as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know how to find ways to overcome your stress. 

Here are four ways to combat your stress and potentially alleviate your temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) pain symptoms.

Identify where you’re carrying tension

If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to notice if you’re carrying tension in your jaw. You might even notice that you are grinding your teeth. If so, it’s important to be able to pinpoint these moments throughout the day. 

The more you can make yourself aware of the situation, the faster you’ll be able to stop yourself from clenching and grinding when you feel anxious. When this happens, loosen your jaw and massage the muscles. Doing this might relieve some of the tension and keep pain at bay.

Try to get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is extremely important. You should be getting about eight hours of sleep a night in order to feel fully rested the next day.

If you are having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, though, make sure that electronic devices, caffeine or afternoon naps aren’t to blame. Also, keep your room at a comfortable temperature and leave distractions out of the bedroom for a restful sleep.

Make sure to eat a healthful diet

Your diet and stress are closely linked, and oftentimes we don’t eat healthy when we have an impending deadline or a long workday. It’s sometimes faster just to run to the vending machine for a sugary snack than it is to pack something healthy. 

However, try to plan ahead before you leave for work. Be sure to stock up on fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce stress. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the sudden energy zap that often accompanies chowing down on a candy bar.

Find time to exercise

You’re probably wondering when you could possibly have time to exercise. But we don’t necessarily mean pumping iron at your local gym. Exercise is anything that gets the blood flowing, which triggers endorphins. 

Take a quick jaunt around the office or take a quick walk during your lunch break. You wouldn’t believe how just a little bit of movement throughout the day can instantly brighten a stressed mood.

Have any other tips for how you deal with stress? If so, we would love to hear them. If you’re currently dealing with TMD and need relief from your symptoms, contact us at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information.