Extensive research has produced evidence that humans hold their emotions in their muscles. Different emotions, when not released, can be trapped in various parts of the body and each emotion has a particular place in which it usually manifests.
For years, this was studied by medical professionals as ‘how stress affects the body’.
We are now very aware of just how much emotional distress can manifest as several physical ailments. Stress is when mental distress becomes physical distress. And stress is an actual killer.
How do emotions get stuck?
According to Affinity Health, health professionals are now putting emphasis on the importance of people taking care of their emotional well-being, which is just as important as staying physically healthy. As it turns out, the two may work hand in hand. If you don’t allow your emotions to be released when you feel them, suppressing them might in fact cause you to be physically ill.
In recent years, science has linked emotional stress, like that caused by blocked emotions, to mental ills, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.
Time.com reports that emotions have actual, tangible and measurable energy. This energy pushes up for expression, and to suppress them, our minds and bodies use creative tactics — including muscular constriction and holding our breath. This is why you are tense when you are anxious or under a lot of pressure.
Symptoms like anxiety and depression can stem from the way we deal with these underlying, automatic, hard-wired survival emotions, which are biological forces that should not be ignored. When the mind thwarts the flow of emotions because they are too overwhelming or too conflicting, it puts stress on the mind and the body, creating psychological distress and symptoms.
So, which emotions are held in the jaw?
The emotions held in the jaw are anxiety and fear.
A tight jaw can be a side effect of several conditions, says Affinity Dental. Stress, teeth grinding and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD or TMJD) are common culprits.
When the dysfunction of the jaw does not have a structural cause, or there is an emotional component in addition to the structural difficulty, further investigation may be necessary to explore the root of the problem, Creative Soul Therapies writes. When we are stressed out, we tend to tighten the jaw and bite down.
In fact, stress has been proven to be the number one reason for clenched muscles, let alone a clenched jaw.
Healthline suggests that feelings of stress and anxiety can sometimes cause you to inadvertently clench your jaw or grind your teeth, even while you’re asleep. Many people who suffer from stress-related conditions do not notice that they clench their jaw, even while fully awake.
Constant clenching over a long period of time can cause pain that persists in activities like eating and talking. You may experience a constant tightness as well.
How to treat a tight Jaw?
Eastern Medicine has always promoted the importance of emotional well-being and how it affects the physical body. Alleviating the cause of the stress in your life will assist in curing, over time, whatever emotional baggage is ailing your body.
Mental health interventions like seeing a qualified therapist, paired with a healthy lifestyle filled with the proper nutrients and amount of exercise will help you stay relaxed.
Medically, there are many ways to treat a stiff jaw to loosen the painful tension around the mouth. Your dentist can prescribe you painkillers and other medications to treat the physical manifestations of stress, while you work through the core of the problem.
Also, be aware to unclench your jaw whenever you become aware that you are doing it. Drop the jaw, even if it slightly opens the mouth. Hold the position for ten seconds at a time. It will give your face muscles a well-deserved break and you may even feel the tension in your neck release. It is all connected.
Many home remedies and over-the-counter interventions are available, but it is always advised that you consult your health practitioner when you take pain medications, regardless of the schedule. We also advise that you should discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor to ensure that it is the right move for you and your health.