Dealing with Stress

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Stress is a major cause of TMJ problems, insomnia, immune deficiencies and accelerated aging, not to mention heart disease. Most of us are unaware of the root cause of stress.  Many experts boil it down to that spoiled little brat inside us called the EGO. This enemy was mostly formed in our childhood and continues to hold us as prisoners for life. Not only does it tell us what we want and don’t want, but, as stated by Matthieu Ricard in his book Happiness, it places “veils” which force us to look around with that little brat’s opinion of what it thinks we should see, sometimes preventing us from admiring the beauty that surrounds us or giving us a prejudice when encountering others.

Ego has always been a part of humanity. Even Buddha warned us of the dangers of an egocentric life. The following is a prayer from Buddha’s time which I display in my office.

                                                                BE THANKFUL                                                               

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to.

Be thankful when you don’t know something

for it gives you an opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for each new challenge

because it will build strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you are tired and weary.

Because it means you have made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative to a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles

and they become your blessings.


Basically, the ego is a big and deep sense of lying to one’s self, and to begin to get out from under its control requires honest examination. When examined in depth, “Self” is nothing but a word or designation. According to Matthieu Ricard, “The problem is this label thinks it’s the real deal. To unmask the ego’s deception, we have to pursue our inquiry to the very end. We need introspective investigation to find out what’s hiding behind the illusion of the self that we think defines our being.”

I have been recommending Ricard’s book Happiness to my patients for years with wonderful results.  When we can see that we are the source of our stress, happiness can replace misery, and health can replace illness.

At Advanced Oral Diagnosis & Treatment Center in Danville we focus on a holistic approach to treating TMJ and sleep apnea. Rather than simply treating the symptoms, our goal is to try to get to the root of the issue and stop it all together. For more information: 925-837-8048  or visit




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