Grinding Teeth and Stress

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Grinding Teeth and Stress

I grind my teeth at night. I don’t know how long it’s been going on for. Now I wear a mouthguard because I started waking up with a sore jaw and teeth. My teeth still try to grind but the mouthguard prevents it. In this sense, I’ve treated the symptom but I haven’t gotten to the source of the problem.

I’ve been told that grinding teeth is a result of stress. To which I always reply ‘but I don’t feel stressed.’ This is what I tell myself, too. I want to believe I’m not stressed. Part of me thinks it’s virtuous to be unaffected by stress, so I pretend I’m not.

But this is a lie.

From the outside I imagine that I do not come across as stressed. I’m rarely emotional. I’m often calm and measured. I don’t overreact or panic. This is my disposition, so I know I give off an impression that nothing affects me too severely.

However, the truth is that I do get stressed and anxious. I feel a constant pressure to perform, out-perform, achieve. This pressure comes from me. It comes from an expectation I have placed on myself. It’s an unrealistic expectation. It means I can never truly relax. There’s always a voice telling me I need to be working on something. It’s a big part of why I am where I am today, but it also causes these stress reactions, which aren’t helpful nor healthy.

So what do I need to do?

Well, firstly I need to figure out why I’m putting this pressure on myself. I need to understand why this is important. Then I need make conscious effort to tighten my grip, and go easy on myself. This will take time, and I’ll definitely fuck it up along the way. But that’s fine. Progress isn’t a straight line. We’ll get there if I keep showing up everyday.

I wanted to share this here because I don’t wish to give off the false impression that I am unaffected by stress. The opposite is true. Each day is a battle. The pressure is ever-present. And if this sounds like you, too, I just wanted you to know that you’re not on your own.

Be good,


If you like my writing, I also have a Substack here where I write about things outside of mental health.

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