Root Canal Work


Lots to reflect on after some time in China and Japan – not least how much I enjoyed it. Normally, in my past, being jetlagged and on display from morning till night would have seemed as much fun as the proverbial ‘root canal work’.

Facing myriad ‘state visits’, handshakes, speeches, staff talks and formal lunches and dinners, the curious discovery was – with few deep breaths and some positive thinking – it all went fine. And in fact, I really enjoyed it.

Talking to an interesting chap this week, he pointed out that, physiologically, the sensations of anxiety are pretty much indistinguishable from those of excitement. All that’s different is the mental picture.

Bungee jump = Excitement

Standing too close to a cliff edge = Anxiety.

I was back in the dentist’s chair for my actual root canal work yesterday. Injections, a clamp, a rubber sheet over my mouth, drills, cement, industrial disinfectant dribbling down my throat, UV, x-rays, smoke, fumes, thumbs, pins and screws.

The fear of pain put this in the ‘anxiety’ not the ‘excitement’ category. But every time I remembered to adjust my mental state, to breathe and to separate the physiological from the mental, it wasn’t half as bad.

Nobody wants a dull life. So realising anxiety and excitement are just two sides of the same physical coin is a good discovery – once again, the picture in the mind makes a very big difference to how it all feels.

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