- Dr. Lai
So You’re Stress Grinding. What are Your Options?
Perform relaxing or enjoyable activities to reduce your stress in the short term
Maintain a good work-life balance and manage your daily tasks to reduce overall stress and decrease your chances of grinding
Practice meditation and mindfulness to reduce your stress levels and decrease your chances of grinding
Make sure you wear a protective mouthguard to save your teeth from irreversible damage
So you’re stressed and anxious and now having to deal with grinding away at your teeth because of it. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road for you. Here are some tips that may help you combat the root problem, stress.
Immediate Stress Relievers
If you need something to take the edge off right away, here are some options:
Go on a walk
Listen to your favorite music
Take a relaxing bath
Do some deep breathing. Breath In for 4. Hold your breath for 7. And Breath out for 8. Do this 4 times.
Take part in some of your hobbies
Work/Life Balance & Self-Care
Another way to manage your stress is to ensure that you are not overworking yourself and are physically and mentally taking care of yourself. Here are some ways that you can incorporate changes into your daily lifestyle:
Ensure that there is sufficient time for leisurely activities
Reassess your priorities. If you’re overloading yourself, maybe cut out some low-priority activities
Avoid caffeine and electronics before bedtime
Seek professional help to help you manage your time
Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are also powerful tools to help combat stress. Mindfulness and meditation involve being aware of the present moment and clearing your mind of all other thoughts. Here are some exercises you can do throughout the day to ensure that you aren’t overlooking the present state:
Pay attention to your breathing. Feel the sensation of your breathing as you inhale and exhale and follow the natural rhythm that your breath has. This exercise can be done any time you have idle time such as waiting for traffic and is great for releasing stress as you’re trying to fall asleep.
Release your body tension throughout the day. Stress can cause your body to build up tension without you realizing it. To release it, start by focusing on your feet and your breathing. Visualize your stress exiting your body as you exhale. Focus only on that and nothing else. Once you are comfortable, slowly move up from your feet and repeat the process until you reach your temples. This exercise can help you understand your areas of tension and potentially what triggers it.
Focus on your eating. Similar to other practices, this practice involves you being aware of the present moment. Pay attention to the flavor and textures of the food. Also pay attention to your hunger dissipating as you eat. This exercise may even help you improve control over your diet.
Pay attention to your movements. Sometimes life requires us to be on the go. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice mindfulness. Focus on your breathing and be aware of how your body feels as you move. and push other thoughts out of your mind. This exercise can be done while doing physical activities such as going on a walk or working out at the gym.
Protect Your Teeth
Wear a mouthguard that fits over your teeth and helps protect them from the effects of grinding. You can get a custom-made nightguard or a byteSense device from your dentist, or an over-the-counter mouthguard for a short-term, cheaper solution. Wearing a protective device can prevent potentially irreversible damage.
How can byteSense help?
Here at byteSense, we are aware of stress's impact on bruxism. That’s why our app comes with a diverse suite of guided stress management activities. These activities range from simple breathing exercises to guided meditation sessions.
Using these exercises, byteSense creates a personalized stress management program for you that improves over time as byteSense analyzes your grinding data and activity completion to see which stress management exercises have the greatest impact on your grinding habits.
Your stress management activity and data may also be shared with your mental health provider who will also be able to recommend stress management activities or offer their own treatments.