You can’t “hold your tongue” without holding your thoughts. Your mouth moves when your mind moves. Take a moment to recall lyrics from a familiar song. As you play these lyrics in your inner ear, can you notice tiny little movements in your tongue, or the back of your throat? We often “subvocalize” when we’re thinking or remembering. This is true even in sleep. Do you grind your teeth at night? That’s because when dream you talks, real you goes through the physical motions. Do you clench your jaw during the day? Same thing. Your jaw clenches only after your mind “clenches.” This can lead to headaches, neck spasms and extra dentist visits.
But the reverse is also true. Although a “tight” mind leads to a tight jaw, a relaxed jaw encourages a relaxed mind. Next time you’re feeling angry, frustrated or worried, notice your mouth. Notice the area behind your ears, where your jaw attaches. Is your tongue jammed up against the roof of your mouth? Is your throat or neck constricted? Take a few moments and simply notice these various tensions. Notice them, make friends with them, but don’t try to “fix” them. Simply noticing tight muscles allows them to gradually relax on their own, whereas actively trying to relax tight muscles tends to have the opposite effect.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.