Mirror Mirror

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we always look good, don’t we?
It’s just a way to speak. What I mean by that, is simply the fact that we feel relaxed and we can’t see our jaw tensed or our frowning or our wrinkling forehead. This happens when we are stressed, or anxious, or even simply concentrating (often looking at the computer screen.)

Yet, watching people in the street, especially after a certain age, we can read those signs of stress or anxiety on the faces. We can indeed watch those people having a neutral expression, yet the down-turned corners of their mouths give us the impression that they are feeling extremely unhappy. Or people constantly frowning and looking pretty anxious.

So how can we prevent those facial expression? I keep repeating “Relax your face” or “Relax your jaw” during a yoga class, but how can we do if we don’t really feel it?

1. Smile
It seems pretty basic and it works very well. When people smile, they engaged different muscles than the one used to frown or to clench their jaw and they immediately look more relaxed.

2. Facial exercices (in front of a mirror)
Some facial exercises really help to release facial tension especially into the jaw. I remember this yoga teacher in India doing those exercises and I was completely impressed. Here is funny video. Yet nothing is better as imitating Mr. Bean

3. Facial massage
Last week, I had an amazing back massage and I have the tendency to clench my jaw at night… going through a rather stressful period in my life. I simply said that to the woman taking care of me and she has helped to release a lot of tension by pressing on trigger points. I can only highly recommend it.

4. Cognitive therapy –  Mindfulness
Every time you feel anxious or stressed, pay attention to your face and where you concentrate your stress.

5. Medicine or herbal strategies.
Apart from drinking plenty of water, some herbs can help, namely the one helping to relax like Valerian.

All these helps us to release our facial muscles and increase our awareness. To prevent facial tension caused by stress or anxiety, I believe that it is important to recognize the cause of it. Deep breathing and Meditation as always help us to get rid of stress and prevent those symptoms.


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