YouTube, Tiaras and Gum: Coping Strategies Gone Wild

Coping with daily anxiety entails developing coping strategies. Sometimes you have to get creative in the kinds of techniques you use. Case in point, I just had an anxiety inducing phone call, so to calm and bring me back down to feeling better, I’m currently watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. Specifically British makeup Youtubers. There is something about the British accent that I find somehow soothing. This more than likely means that I was British in a previous life. Probably part of the British Royal Family. Which would explain my affection for tiaras. And my insistence that whenever I enter a room, all those in attendance stop what they are doing and stand up. (I may have made that last part up 😀 )

However, there are some coping strategies that I’ve used over the years that can affect another aspect of your health in a bad way. Today I’m going to talk about chewing gum. According to a 2011 study by Wired magazine, chewing gum whilst doing academics improved the performance of participants while those that studied but weren’t chewing gum showed no significant advancement.

The last job I had before moving to my current place, was working at a tutoring company. I began to chew gum to help me focus and stay on track. Since I worked most days of the week, I chewed at least one piece of gum a day. Sugar free of course. I even began chewing gum on days I didn’t work. I started telling my brain that I was burning calories chewing gum, and since it was sugar-free, it was a good habit to keep.

This denial blissfully continued until one day, several years into this seemingly benign habit, my jaw began to hurt and I found it difficult to chew. This peculiar symptom went away after a day or so, but I’ve noticed it comes back every once in a while. Long story short….I gave myself TMJ!

TMJ or; temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is defined by Google as, “pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles”. Translation: “Hey lady, you’ve been lying to yourself for years about how gum chewing burns calories and as a result, you’ve given yourself TMJ! Just drop the pack of gum, walk away slowly, and no one will get hurt!”

So in the last few years, living with this new condition, I’ve had to modify my coping strategies. Now, if I’m feeling anxious or need to focus, I grab a cup of coffee, sign into Youtube, sit back and pretend I’m British. Can someone please pass me the Turkish Delight?

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