Stress is more than just an emotional issue – it’s a threat to your health. High levels of chronic stress are linked to heart problems, obesity, diabetes, digestive problems, and of course, teeth grinding and facial pain.
At MedCenter TMJ, part of our comprehensive treatment plan for our patients includes finding ways to deal with stress through healthy lifestyle changes. Coping with and minimizing stress can help manage temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and reduce orofacial pain.
Contrary to what you may think, there are easy and low-cost ways you can relieve stress and help reduce your risk of the health problems it causes.
Sleep Comes First
In today’s hectic world, it seems we put sleep last on our list. Work, family, and other obligations get done and when we have time, we’ll sleep. This is a mistake. Chronic sleep deprivation raises your risk of heart and kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. And when you’re not rested, your emotional health and ability to deal with stress are severely compromised. Do something good for your jaw and your whole body by getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This may mean you need to modify your schedule, delegate tasks, or forego an activity – but it is worth the effort.
What you eat has a tremendous impact on your health, including how you cope with stress. Healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains may increase serotonin levels in the brain and help improve your mood. Vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants that can keep you feeling energetic and help you fight illness. By contrast, high-sugar, fatty, and low-nutrition foods like sweets and fried foods can make you feel worse by causing fatigue, sluggishness, and blood sugar crashes. They also don’t provide your body and mind with nutrients they need to function at their best. Instead of reaching for a doughnut when stress hits, have a healthier alternative ready to go, such as a fruit and vegetable smoothie.
Exercise Improves Mental Health
When you get moving, you help your body release feel-good chemicals called endorphins that improve your mental state. Exercise also helps you get better quality sleep, which improves your health and stress levels as mentioned above. Exercise may even reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Walking, yoga, swimming, biking, or any physical activity you enjoy may provide these benefits. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day, five days a week.
Skip The Bad Habits
It’s easy to turn to substances like alcohol or tobacco when you’re feeling the stress of life. But you probably know that these do not help you deal with stress, and they certainly don’t improve your health. Instead, focus on these simple but effective ways to get and stay healthy. A healthy body is better equipped to handle whatever life brings your way.
Lower Your Stress, Help Your Jaw
If you’re dealing with jaw pain and TMD, a healthy approach to stress is one way to help you manage your TMD symptoms. Contact MedCenter TMJ to schedule your appointment and learn how you can eliminate jaw pain and get back to your life!