How to Relax Facial Muscles

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Everyone feels some level of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, one common way our body responds to that is with facial tension. Everyone is susceptible to dealing with this issue so it’s important that you know how to relax facial muscles.

Try to relax with breathing exercises, meditation, hot baths, and yoga. Facial exercises are also an effective way to relieve facial muscle tension. If you stay in the same position for a long time, changing your posture and stretching throughout the day would help. And if all else fails, medication may be your last resort for tension relief.

There are more ways you can relax your facial muscles. Anything that helps you relax and keep your mind at ease shall help relieve some of that tension in your facial muscles.

Below, we’ll go over the basics of facial tension, including its connection to anxiety and stress. Then, we’ll detail our favorite ways to relax facial muscles.

What is Facial Tension?

Facial tension is a common and natural occurrence. It is usually a response to physical or emotional stress.

Because everyone is prone to stress anyone is susceptible to facial stress.

When you feel severe physical or emotional stress, the body tenses as a response. The most commonly affected areas are the face, neck, and shoulders.

When you experience stress for long periods of time, this may cause long-term tension, stirring up various issues and eventually affecting how you live your life and do your daily activities.

If not intervened, it can likely develop into chronic tension.

Facial Tension Symptoms

There are several symptoms that facial tension can manifest. Some of the most common symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Tingling sensation: A tingling sensation on the skin is a very common symptom of facial tension. Facial tingling has long been associated as a common anxiety symptom, especially during episodes of a panic attack.
  • Skin reddening: Skin reddening or flushing is another common symptom both facial tension and anxiety share. Known as “anxiety rash” or “stress rash”, it is often a response to stress and anxiety.
  • Headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. It is a dull pain around the head, face, and neck. This might also cause pain and a tight feeling on the sides and back of the head and across the forehead. According to Cleveland Clinic, tension headaches don’t usually cause other symptoms like nausea or vomiting.

What Causes Facial Tension?

As facial tension is a very common concern. Its most common causes include:

Anxiety and emotional stress

Humans have a natural “fight or flight” response. When you experience stress, your body reacts by releasing hormones to your nervous system, causing anxiety.

When you feel constantly anxious and stressed, and for a very long time at that, your body will start manifesting this with muscle and facial tension.

Physical stress

Physical stress and injuries – falls and accidents – can cause your facial and body muscles to tense up.

And it doesn’t matter whether the physical stress is something recent or something that happened in your early childhood years. They can manifest as pain even years later.

Poor posture

Poor posture puts a lot of stress on all the wrong places of your body. Whether that’s having poor posture while working, walking, or sleeping, it’s bound to put extra and unnecessary stress on different parts of your body, especially your neck, shoulders, and jaw.

Having poor postural habits can be painful for the joints and muscles of your body, causing them to tense up.

If not corrected as early as now, it can lead to soreness or stiffness. Worse, it can potentially open up a whole other world of health issues like arthritis, muscle loss, or mobility issues.

Facial Tension and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

The temporomandibular joints are the two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull.

Many people’s likely response to stress and anxiety is tightening their facial and jaw muscles and sometimes even clenching their teeth.

Regularly doing this can cause pain in the temporomandibular joints, known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. It’s also known as a common term referring to chronic jaw pain.

This often affects the jaw, face, and neck, causing uncomfortable pain in these areas.

How to Relax Facial Muscles

Now that we’ve gone over all the important basics of facial muscle tension, here are all the simple and easy ways you can relax your facial muscles and release facial tension:

  • Take a relaxing hour (or five) to yourself and practice relaxation techniques

Stress is one of the most common causes of facial tension so it goes without saying that reducing your stress levels is a great way to release tension.

Take an hour or more to destress your mind and soul. This is a great first step to adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Deep breathing exercises and meditation are simple yet very effective at reducing stress. Take a couple of minutes to do deep mouth breathing and meditation sessions. Breathing deeply can calm anxieties and also lower blood pressure.

This is quick, easy, and won’t cost you anything. What’s more, you stay calm and focused, and relax some of that tension building up in your body.

Hot showers and baths are also very relaxing. It’s a great opportunity to take some time for yourself and reflect.

If it’s up your alley, do some yoga. It’s relaxing, meditating, and helps you get in touch with your mind.

  • Practice facial exercises for tension and jaw pain relief

Exercising your facial muscles is a great and easy way to relieve some of that built-up tension. Here are some of the common facial exercises (and facial expressions) you can try at home:

Jaw release: Relax your jaw and let your mouth hang open. Then, bring the tip of your tongue to the highest point of the roof of your mouth. Hold this for about five seconds before resting your jaw in a relaxed closed mouth position. Slight resistance is a good thing.

Eye release: The eyes can take on daily beatings and this can cause eye strain and tension headaches. Rest your eyes and give them a break by looking at things that are further away after some time of work. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Lip scrunch: Close and scrunch your lips. Then, pull your mouth to one side of your face. Hold this position for ten seconds and proceed to do the same on the other side of your face. This will stretch tensed-up jaws.

Nose scrunch: Wrinkle and scrunch up your nose, flaring your nostrils in the process. Hold this position for about 15 seconds and then release.

Happy face: Smile as wide as you possibly can, stretching your cheeks and jaws. Hold this position for about five seconds and then relax your face.

Surprised eyes: Open your eyes wide as much as you can and arch your eyebrows up as high as possible. Hold this position for as long as you can, until you feel your eyes water. Then ease your eyes back into a relaxed position.

  • Correct and change your posture

Staying in one position for far too long is bound to cause muscle tension and issues down the road. Alternate your position from sitting to standing or standing to sitting every 30 minutes.

This will relieve built-up tension from staying in the same position for too long. This can also help you develop better posture, whether you’re sitting down or standing up.

  • Stretch tensed-up muscles

When you feel neck pain and shoulder pain and notice tense muscles, stretch your neck and shoulders. Try your hand at an at-home facial massage for even more pain relief. You can also stretch your jaws by opening your mouth and then holding it into position before relaxing.

  • Consult your doctor for medication

If all else fails and you still experience facial tension with tension headache, pain medication may be due.

And if you are able to pinpoint the cause of the muscle tension to be your anxiety, you can ask your doctor to prescribe you some anti-anxiety medication to help you cope and manage.


Facial tension is a common and natural response of the human body to physical and emotional stress. Facial tension can cause a tingling sensation, skin reddening, and even headaches. If you’re one of the many who experience facial tension daily, you should know how to relax facial muscles.

To relax your facial muscles, take time out of your day for relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation. Facial exercises are also a great way to stretch your facial muscles and relieve built-up tension. If you’ve been staying in the same position for a long time, changing your posture and stretching tensed-up muscles throughout the day will do you wonders. And if all else fails, consult your doctor if they can prescribe you with any medication.

And that has been our detailed guide on how to relax facial muscles. You can reach out to us below for other queries!