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Confessions of a teeth grinder

Confession: I have been meditating for almost five years now and I still grind my teeth. My dentist was adamant - stop it (she lamented, how many people are not grinding their teeth these days?). I have resisted getting a night guard, because, holy hell, that sounds incredibly unsexy. But the truth is, I may need to swallow my pride and just get one. Receding gums, due to teeth grinding, are also incredibly unsexy (not to mention, painful).

In order to protect my teeth and my overall health - because I don't think I'd be grinding my teeth simply for the hell of it - I've started scaling back how much I commit to. It's been hard. I like being busy. I like helping people. And I have a really hard time saying no. I also hate disappointing people, especially those I care about. But I am realizing more than ever that my wish to not disappoint others is costing me a great deal. I am at an age where I can no longer simply push on through. My body is telling me to stop and pay attention.

Finally, I am listening.

At the beginning of the year, I took three days off to completely clean out my closet. Something I had been avoiding for a very long time (understandably). I found receipts from ten years ago, letters, birthday cards, old photographs from high school, magazines I'd kept from my time in the Czech Republic and papers I wrote in grad school. It was unexpectedly emotional. When I was done and I only had a few small boxes left, I felt a huge wave of relief. I felt lighter.

There is something about creating space, both physically and mentally, that is highly motivating and refreshing. Since then, instead of committing to more projects, more tasks, more self-improvement fiascos (going sugar-free and gluten-free, while healthy, is just not realistic for me), more this and more that, I have decided to commit to saying no, setting boundaries, scaling back, simplifying, giving stuff away and making room for space.

It hasn't been easy, but something surprising has been happening. I'm starting to relax. Slowly but surely. Little by little. Why is it so hard?

We'll see what my dentist has to say...

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Comments

Thank you both for sharing

I grind my teeth too. And keep hoping the meditation is going to fix it. I know, I know, we're not supposed to look for the r word...results. And we're not broken! But I keep hoping.
I have the inexcusably-expensive, dentist-made guard that I don't really think helps. I've also ground through it so it looks more like molded plastic w/holes in it. But I will say this: on nights that I take time before bed to tell myself that I am okay, that I have not failed (or I have, but it's okay) - even if/when I don't believe it - things are a little lighter in the oral department.
Thanks again to both of you for writing. Wishing you, and all beings, ease-ful nights.

Take Good Care of Yourself

So glad you're starting to say no, and learning to listen to your body. Taking care of myself is a really big challenge for me, and am often just racing around doing and not just being present. I feel this is something I'm constantly re-learning.

(I started grinding my teeth about 7 years ago and at first I refused to believe the diagnosis (insisted it was sinus headaches and/or ear infections). Resisted the mouthguard for months. Now I wear one (not the expensive kind, a brand called Stressgard you can get on Amazon or a drugstore) and I love it. No more headaches and achey jaw.

(I'm not quite sure if my TMJ is related to stress or not but I suspect it might go away if I stopped drinking coffee . . . ))

<3

Yes! I too am constantly re-learning how to take care of myself. I've spent so many years beating myself up and not taking care of myself that turning this ship around is often a difficult (but worthy!) task. No going back though (thankfully!). :)

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