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… this was me answering my dentist’s question today as to why I have been so stressed.

I was supposed to be there for a filling but I had that whole earache drama the other week which we had to deal with first. I spent the whole day dreading going this afternoon on account of the “impacted tooth” diagnosis from my GP. I actually didn’t think it was but thought it could be an issue leading to a root canal that I am trying to avoid. Either way, I was terrified of having a root canal or another tooth removed. He took one look at it and was like, nope, it’s not a tooth thing at all, it’s a muscle thing. Turns out, my jaw is tight due to clenching from stress/anxiety and it’s gotten so bad, it’s caused the earache.

So, instead of having a horrible procedure, I got a 15 minute jaw massage, a prescription of hot pack, yoga, talking to a friend and a script for Valium. And two more appointments for fillings later.

I have to admit, I do love my dentist. I’d been so dreading all of this that I forgot how nice he is. Which is why I see him. And he gave me a very stern talking to about being stressed out and how Type A, high strung worriers end up dying young. And then he told me about his brother who died a year older than I am now and how that made him realise what’s important in life. It was all a bit grim but yeah, he’s right. About all that stuff and the sugar too (I don’t wanna talk about that now). I know most of my current stress is remnant Swancon stuff. The nightmares have almost stopped. Though I did have the stress dream I have of shopping in a general, up market department store (I have no idea why that’s stressful). But still, it’s not just Swancon and I know that.

I’ve referred in passing to the reassessment I’m currently doing about my life and commitments. Pretty much most of it is up for grabs at the moment and is being asked to justify relevance to me to stay in my life. I’ve set myself the next year to do nothing, to destress and to make major lifestyle changes to facilitate that. But that has moved to a slight reinterpretation of “do nothing that I don’t want to do”. 2011 has felt very much so far like a year where I am constantly in situations that force me to confront that which I have been trying to ignore or procrastinate or sweep under the carpet. Ordinarily in my everyday life, I would prefer to go with the flow and not make waves. But this year, no. I don’t seem to be able to get away with such things, be it seeing a movie that I really don’t want to see or something more important than that. It’s been rough for me because I actually would prefer to do something I don’t want if it makes the other person happy. (In the past I’ve made some really self destructive choices in life because of this need to please.) But in being confronted with the fact that I don’t really want to do X, and having to say so for a variety of reasons and often this year, I’ve also discovered that beyond the uncomfortable revelation conversation is this other thing – the joy of not having to do something you don’t want or rather, doing the thing that you do want.  And the more this happens this year, and the more I realise that you don’t actually regret not doing things you didn’t want to do or not spending time with people you didn’t want to spend time with, the more vigilant I am being about first checking how I feel about things and then honestly responding in kind. It’s been very freeing.

So yes, more of that. More decluttering in my life. More spending time on the things that I want to do. More moving away from negativity and towards positivity. And more joy and happiness. And less stress. So the theory goes.

And I guess a return to yoga.

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