Do you ever feel like your jaw is perpetually clenched, or do you find chewing to be a painful experience? It could be that you are suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull and is essential to speaking, eating, swallowing, and laughing. While its pain and discomfort can be debilitating, one effective treatment for TMJ pain is mindfulness and birdwatching in Bend, Oregon can provide the perfect backdrop for a holistic approach to managing TMJ symptoms.

Understanding TMJ Disorder

TMJ is the term for a variety of conditions that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include jaw clicking, popping, or grinding, difficulty chewing or talking, persistent headaches and swelling, and stiffness or tenderness in the jaw. TMJ can be caused by a variety of factors, including sleep apnea, arthritis, or even excessive stress.

The Benefits of Bird Watching and Mindfulness

Many people have found that simply being in nature and taking time to be present, such as through birdwatching, can help to alleviate their stress and anxiety. Birdwatching allows you to be mindful and appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural world, taking in each moment without judgment or expectations. It also provides a peaceful environment in which to practice deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that can help to reduce overall tension in the muscles. When paired with other self-care routines, such as a healthy diet, good sleep, and regular physical activity, mindfulness can be an effective tool in managing TMJ symptoms.

Bird Watching Spots in Bend

Bend is a nature lover’s paradise and home to many great bird watching spots where you can get your fill of beautiful and diverse bird life. The High Desert Museum, located just 10 miles south of Bend, is a wonderful place to start. This living history museum is filled with exhibits on natural history, indigenous cultures, and wildlife. There are also several trails and picnic areas on the grounds where you can spot a variety of bird species.

The Deschutes River Trail is another fantastic place to take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors. This popular 12-mile trail parallels the river and is home to countless bird species, including great blue herons, swans, eagles, and more. Smith Rock State Park and Tumalo Falls are both great places for hiking and bird watching. Located just outside of Bend, Tumalo Falls offers a stunning view of the falls as well as plenty of bird life.

Putting Mindfulness into Practice

Once you have found a great bird watching spot, it is important to take the time to really be present and practice mindfulness. As you take in the sights and sounds of the natural world, pay attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment or expectation. Try to take deep breaths in and out, focusing on the sensations of your breathing. Notice the beauty around you and appreciate it for what it is. This can help to quiet the mind and reduce the tension in your jaw.


It is important to take care of your TMJ disorder and find the right treatment to alleviate your symptoms. Mindfulness and bird watching in Bend can be an effective tool to help manage the pain and discomfort of TMJ, as well as provide a peaceful and relaxing experience. By spending time in nature, appreciating the sights and sounds around you and practicing mindfulness, it can lead to a more balanced and healthy life.