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How to Relieve Stress: Facial Relaxation

Updated on November 9, 2007

I used to work with a guy who had a permanent furrow in his browline, just over his eyes. He had been at the company for twenty years and had been feeling the debilitating effects of workaholism for nineteen and a half -- and it showed. Other than the neck, back and shoulders, tension settles primarily in the face, causing headaches, sinus pressure and a weary countenance. The eyes, brows, temples, cheeks and jawline are great at absorbing the anger and irritation of the day and holding on for dear life. Of course, nothing is better for relieving stress than a day at the spa and a facial mask complete with fresh cucumber slices over the eyes. But not everyone has $400 and eight hours to devote to relaxation. Here are some quick-fix solutions that can be practiced in any location (at the office, at home) and in under 2 minutes.


  1. Stop what you're doing and concentrate on your breathing. Take three to six deep, long breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth). Breathing deeply slows the pulse and calms the body down.
  2. If you can get your hands on an essential oil, put a couple of drops in the palms of your hands and inhale deeply while you're taking your breaths. Quick primer on aromatherapy: orange and lavender restore, peppermint and rosemary energize, and frankincense and patchouli soothe.
  3. Going step by step, concentrate on relaxing each feature on your face.
  • Temples: using both pointer fingers, massage your temples in small, counter-clockwise circles.
  • Brows: gently grasp your eyebrows between the thumb and index finger. Starting in the center, pinch and lift along each brow until you reach the temples.
  • Eyes: Using your middle three fingers, circle the eye sockets with a light tapping motion.
  • Forehead: Use the pads of your fingers to press and lift upwards, starting at the browline and moving your way up to the scalp.
  • Cheeks: Using your middle three fingers, press beneath your cheekbones and lift them towards your eyes for three seconds. Inhale as you lift, and then exhale for 3-6 seconds as you release.
  • Jawline: Starting in the middle of your chin, use your thumbs and middle fingers to gently pinch and lift the skin from the chin all the way up to your ears.
  • Neck: Placing your right hand over your head to cover the left ear, stretch your neck to the right, then reverse. Use your finger pads to massage the base of your skull where your head meets your neck.
  • Face: If you can, lean back and cover your face with your hands for a few moments. This creates a dark cocoon of warmth and tricks the brain into relaxing.


  • Drink a mug of hot water with a drop of fresh-squeezed lemon juice in it.
  • Go for a walk or slow jog to oxygenate your skin without wearing yourself out.
  • As mentioned above, take six slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Wash your face with a rejuvenating cleanser and remove excess cleanser with a steaming hot cloth, followed by a cool cloth to alleviate redness.
  • Drink at least 2 pints (1 liter) of water during the course of each day.
  • When applying moisturizer, do so gently. Rubbing it vigorously into your skin will create blotches.
  • Sinus pressure causing puffiness? Dip your fingers in an essential face oil like sweet almond or apricot, and tap along up and down the bridge of your nose, then in and out from eye socket to temples.



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