Stress: It’s Free, Do You Want Some?
In high school I had the unfortunate experiences of being picked on by the biggest bully in my class. We were both athletes so he could not physically intimidate me but the mental torments are probably worse. One day I noticed his bullying was about my physical appearance and others. At the right moment, while bothering me, he was in front of a large mirror. I said, “Turn around, take a good look and tell me what you see.” Wow, what an amazing reaction. He got so angry, he couldn’t talk, started stuttering and then ran out of the room, slamming the door. The others there, who didn’t hear our conversation said, what’s up with him? He never bullied me again.
My mother lost all her teeth in her early thirties. I was eight years old and present in the dental office, waiting and wondering why it was taking so long. Her teeth were perfect; she lost them because they became very loose. The stress of her traumatized childhood, her teenage years with family life, her unhappy marriage and children, with no coping skills, added up to tremendous mental and physical stress, losing her teeth while getting a divorce. As a specialist in TMD (Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorders) and dental reconstruction, all my patients suffer from excess mind and body stresses, affecting their mastication anatomy, including head, neck, shoulder and back pains.
Teeth are not supposed to touch. When we speak, our upper and lower teeth do not touch. When relaxed, our upper and lower lips kiss lightly with the upper and lower teeth apart. To swallow, the upper and lower teeth come together without much force and cannot cause any damage. Chewing food, our muscles are designed to bring the teeth “almost” together while the food is being masticated. These functions do not cause any harm or trauma to our tissues. The problem is our mind. When we react to the stresses of life, we unconsciously contract the body’s muscles. Like a knee jerk, we clamp down on our teeth and may grind, gnashing them side-to-side. At night in our dreams or during the day, we are unaware of these reactions and the physical harm to our tissues.
Life is better if we respond to it, being aware of our presence at all times. This means knowing what our body is doing. When aware we can prevent harm. Like watching our children, we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. It is about being alert to our environment. If we go off into some mental daydream of the past or future and leave our awareness of our present surroundings, problems happen. Look at the before and after pictures of a patient. This physician was self-medicating her pain for ten years until she found the right treatment for her unaware traumas.
What do you think?