Seven Hacks For Managing Stress (And Bruxism, Too)
In our last blog post, we did a deeper dive into dietary habits by pointing out seven specific foods that can help you naturally mitigate your daily stress (and as a result, hopefully make it easier to treat grinding and clenching.) But what about other habits?
There are many proven ways that relaxing your mind and body can work wonders for alleviating anxiety and stress. Here are seven of the most useful...
Breathing Exercises – So much of our compounded stress can often be attributed to our rushed daily routines, we simply forget to take the time to breathe... literally. Shallow breaths throughout the day may not be what your brain really needs, so try making time during your schedule to stop and engage in some deep breathing exercises. The University of Michigan's Health Library has wonderful guidelines to get you started.
Soothing Music or Ambient Sounds – There's plenty of cacophony we have to deal with each day, even when circumstances in general aren't as stressful as they have been in recent months. Not enough can be said about making sure your ears are happy, and in turn lowering your stress levels. Soothing, quiet or melodic music (even while working) can help tremendously. Also, try ambient noise particularly at night; apps such as Insight Timer offer great nature soundscapes, such as rain or ocean waves, to soothe the mind when you're falling asleep.
Mindful Meditation – Meditation apps can also offer all sorts of guided processes, but simple observant meditation is a terrific option for slowing our brains and relaxing our nerves. Keep the goal of mindfulness at the center and simply note what is around you, without alteration. How are you breathing, fast or slowly? Do you hear ambient noise or complete silence, and what can you smell or feel (such as the floor or chair under you?)
Writing – Don't let this one intimidate you, because there's really nothing to it other than releasing your thoughts. It can be a source of great relief to get one's feelings out and into words, even if it's a journal of your own that you don't expect anyone to read. Typing things out on your computer is fine, but for a physical sense of activity then purposefully writing things down with good old pen and paper can provide additional calm.
Yoga – A great deal of our brain chemistry is, of course, also tied to our physical well being, so any form of exercise that you engage in on your own time can help. Don't feel as though you have to dive into advanced yoga right away, either; the University of Michigan's Health Library also has a very useful beginner's guide to yoga that can get you started.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Not unlike mindful mediation, there's enormous value in the practice of methodically focusing on relaxing your entire body, one muscle at a time. It is a stress-free brain activity combined with a physical relief, and WebMD has an excellent guide for how to do this. Not only can it assist with stress and anxiety, but some have attributed it to helping with headaches, chronic pain, digestive issues and more.
Easy Cardio Activity – If yoga isn't really your thing or mobility issues might prevent it, then there's nothing better than a good old fashioned walk to get your heart pumping and relax your mind. Being sure you get a change of scenery during the week (especially if you're working from home) can make all the difference. If you live near a park or trail, great! But if not, a nice socially-distanced walk around your neighborhood is just fine. Be sure to take in everything – the weather, the trees and other flora – and relax your brain while you stroll.
These mind-and-body forward tips are just part of a treatment plan for bruxism. Always remember to brush and floss after every meal, and wear your nightguard when stress seems to be rising. ClearClub's custom-fit, low-cost night guards will help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, and start as low as $95 for your first nightguard. Plus, they are shipped directly to your door! Your teeth will thank you.