Stress can do a number on your health. Your body’s stress reaction is meant to heighten your senses and response time as a survival tactic. But, like pushing a car too fast for too long, prolonged states of elevated stress can cause your health and body parts to wear down long before their time.
Your oral health is also affected by high stress levels, which can lead to issues such as bruxism, TMJ disorder, neglected oral hygiene, and more. To help you prevent stress from deteriorating your oral health, we present a few tips for relieving excessive stress in your daily life.
- Just say no—stretching yourself out too thin is a guaranteed trip to stress-ville. Whether in your personal or professional life, do not accept additional responsibilities or concerns when your plate is already full, or close to it.
- Avoid stressors—most of us know at least one person whose presence stresses us out. Typically, it’s a family member, long-time friend, coworker, or someone else that you may feel obligated to continue socializing with. Try limiting the times that you must be around that person, possibly, ending the relationship completely, if necessary.
- Exercise—physical activity is perhaps the oldest and arguably the most effective form of stress relief. The act of working out can take your mind off of your problem, and the endorphins that your body releases during a workout facilitates a calm, feel-good ambience.
- Do something enjoyable—relieving stress can be as simple as going to a movie, riding a bike, doing a crossword puzzle, or building a model airplane. The trick is to find a hobby that you truly enjoy so that turning to it during stressful times seems calming rather than a chore.
- Smile, even if you have to fake it—studies have shown that the act of smiling can also force endorphin release, improving your mood and relaxing your tension (even if only slightly). Plus, smiling will have a similar effect on those around you, creating a friendly environment that should help stress melt away.