How to Relax Your Facial Muscles

Our facial expressions mirror our emotions and they often do so without us even knowing it. While this helps us communicate, it also means that our face tends to carry the signs and stress of our inner emotional life. Luckily, there are many ways to help relax these important muscles, ranging from whole-body approaches to minimize systemic stress to specific facial exercises that will help you release tension.

EditUsing Relaxation Techniques
Take a break and notice your jaw muscles. The best way to prevent tension is to learn how to avoid clenching your jaw muscles in the first place. You may find that there are certain situations in which you clench your teeth or hold your face in an uncomfortable position. Pay attention to what these activities or moments are for you, notice them, and then stop tensing your face and jaw.[1]
Bad habits are difficult to break. Be patient but persistent.

Change your resting posture to minimize tension. When you’re involved in a task while sitting at your desk or driving, do you ever find that your jaw is clenched? Reduce tension in your face and jaw by changing your mouth’s resting position. Position your tongue at the roof of your mouth and let your bottom jaw hang open. Breathe deeply and regularly through your nose.[2]
Many people will tense their jaw without realizing they are doing it.

Practice progressive muscle relaxation to calm your facial muscles. Choose a quiet spot where you can sit or lie down. Take deep breaths and focus first on tightening the muscles in your forehead by raising your eyebrows as high as you can. Then relax. Next, furrow your brow as severely as you can. Then relax. From there, move on to your eyes. Squeeze them shut and then release them. Proceed through the rest of the muscles in your face, tightening and relaxing each group as you go.[3]
Take the time at least once a day to focus on the muscles in your face, neck, and elsewhere so that you can get rid of tension before it causes pain or discomfort.

By focusing on specific parts of your face and body, progressive relaxation can both increase your awareness of your body’s stress and help you get rid of it, simultaneously.

Extend the benefits of this by moving beyond your face, head, and neck to your whole body.

Give yourself a massage to release tension. Using two hands if possible, begin with your lymph nodes, the area below your ears, and gently stroke downwards on both sides. Move upwards, massaging your chin and jaw muscles by moving your index and middle finger together in small, gentle circles. Follow this by moving on to your sinus area on either side of your nose, beneath your eyes, and then your eyebrows. End by massaging your forehead and your temples.[4]
Use gentle, circular motions in each area of your face and avoid pushing too hard or it may become uncomfortable.

Apply a warm washcloth to your skin or take a hot shower before massaging your face for additional relaxation.[5]

Visit a spa for professional treatment to remove stress. A facial session with a professional masseuse or esthetician can help reduce tightness in your facial muscles. Book yourself a facial and a massage with a professional by searching online or asking friends for referrals. Ask them to focus on your head, neck and face to target your problem areas.[6]
Unwilling or unable to pay for a spa treatment? Ask a friend, partner or family member if they can give you a facial massage.

One drawback to this approach is that you won’t learn how to relax the muscles on your own so the effects will short-lived.

EditExercising Your Facial Muscles
Stretch all the muscles in your face. Open your mouth as widely as you can. At the same time, crinkle your nose, furrow your brow, and scrunch your eyes so that they are closed tightly. Hold this for just a few seconds, then relax. Repeat this whole-face stretch as needed.[7]
By tightening and stretching the muscles in your jaw and face, you are training them to relax.

Unlike progressive relaxation, this exercise can be done anytime and anywhere (as long as you don’t mind making funny faces to those around you.)

Move your jaw three ways to loosen tension. The jaw often holds much of our stress. This can contribute to chronic problems in this area like pain and stiffness. You can stretch your jaw first by opening your mouth slightly and then gently pushing your lower jaw forward so that you have an exaggerated underbite. Then relax. Follow this by gently pushing your jaw to one side so that you have an exaggerated crooked underbite. Then relax. Repeat this for the other side.[8]
This can also help stretch the muscles in your throat and neck.

Stick out your tongue to relax your throat, mouth and jaw. Don’t forget your tongue when you’re doing these stretches. Stick your tongue all the way out of your mouth, stretching it downward. Relax and then repeat this stretch except this time stick it to one side, touching your cheek. Relax and repeat with the opposite side.[9]
Stretch your tongue inside your mouth as well by pushing it against the inside of your cheeks on either side and bending it outwards while you push against your top and bottom teeth.

Puff out your cheeks for an all-around facial stretch. Imagine that you’re playing the trumpet and blow your cheeks out. Hold this pose, filling your entire mouth with air and pressure, for 20 seconds. You will feel it stretching your cheeks inside and out.[10]
For an inverse stretch, suck your cheeks inwards while holding your lips together.

Flare your nostrils to stretch the muscles surrounding it. Your nose may not need much massaging, but by flaring your nostrils in and out, you can flex and stretch the muscles around it, opening up your sinuses and working the muscles around your mouth and cheeks. Focus on your nostrils and concentrate on opening them up.[11]
If you have difficulty with this, try breathing deeply through your nose as you watch yourself in a mirror and concentrate on noticing the movements your nostrils make.

EditReducing Stress and Tension Throughout Your Body
Meditate to reduce your overall stress level. The specific details and techniques of meditation can vary depending on which approach you choose, including Tai Chi, mantra meditation, guided meditation, and others. While there is more than one way to meditate, all of these forms share core practices that anyone can use with minimal practice, including:[12]
Relaxed breathing. Deep, calm, and rhythmic breathing can help you calm your body and your mind.

Comfortable body position. If sitting in a cross-legged position isn’t your cup of tea, you can choose to lie down or sit in a comfortable chair. The most important thing is that your body should be able to relax.

Focused attention. Objects of focus can include calming images, relaxing phrases (or mantras), a relaxing memory or even quiet music to help keep your mind from wandering back to its worries.

Practice yoga to relax your whole body and mind. Use deep breathing and the body as its own form of resistance to help yourself stretch and flex the stress away. By improving the mind-body connection, fostering mindfulness, and stretching out tense muscles, yoga is a great way to get rid of stored-up stress. It’s also an art and exercise form that anyone with moderate to good mobility can practice.[13]
Try the Lion Pose to target your facial muscles by sitting on your heels with your knees spread and your hands on the floor pointing towards your feet. Look up at the ceiling while opening your eyes and mouth as wide as you can, before relaxing your face.[14]
Yoga classes or online videos are a great way to familiarize yourself with this relaxing and healthy activity.

Exercise regularly to release endorphins. Maintaining physical health is an important part of your overall emotional well-being. As little as 20 minutes a day of walking can help reduce anxiety and stress and trigger the release of endorphins (your body’s own natural painkillers and mood elevators). More strenuous exercise, such as running, may magnify these benefits.[15]
When you exercise, you begin to breathe regularly and your mind focuses, helping you to automatically reduce the stress and worry you feel.

Go outdoors to calm your mind. Spending time surrounded by trees and other living plants can actually help alleviate physical signs of stress, lowering things like blood pressure and cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. If you can get yourself to a wooded area, these effects may be even greater in forests.[16]
Take a walk or a jog outside, breathe some fresh air, and listen to birds to reap the rewards of the great outdoors.

Sometimes tense facial muscles or facial tics are not simply related to stress. They could be a sign of a more serious TMJ disorder. These symptoms could also be side effects from medications you may be taking. If you suspect there is something more serious going on, you should talk to your doctor.

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Today in History for 21st May 2019

Historical Events

1897 – Yerkes Observatory 40″ (1m) refractor used for 1st time
1983 – 108th Preakness: Donald Miller Jr on Deputed Testamony wins in 1:55.4
1985 – Israel exchanges 1,150 prisoners with the PFLP-GC in return for 3 Israeli soldiers
1988 – 113th Preakness: Eddie Delahoussaye aboard Risen Star wins in 1:56.2
1998 – Indonesian president Suharto resigns after 31 years in power
2005 – English FA Cup Final, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (71,876): Arsenal beats Manchester United, 5-4 on penalties after 0 – 0 (a.e.t.); Gunners’ 10th title

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1825 – George Lafayette Beal, American politician and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Norway, Maine (d. 1896)
1860 – Willem Einthoven, Dutch physiologist and inventor of the electrocardiodiogram (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1924), born in Semarang, Dutch East Indies (d. 1927)
1929 – Paul Winslow, cricketer (big-hitter for South Africa, 108 v England 1955)
1944 – Janet Dailey, American author
1957 – Judge Reinhold, actor (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), born in Wilmington, Delaware
1976 – Deron Miller, American rock musician

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

987 – Louis V, last Carlovingians King of France (966-987), dies
1481 – Christian I, king of Denmark/Norway/Sweden, dies
1647 – Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, poet/playwright (Warenar), dies at about 65
1812 – Joseph Wolfl, composer, dies at 38
1957 – Aleksandr Vertinsky, Russian singer (b. 1889)
2008 – Brian Keenan, Irish Provisional IRA member who played a key role in Northern Ireland’s peace process (1998), dies of cancer at 66

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Work Out at Home Using Hand Weights

Sometimes it’s just way more convenient to work out at home instead of in a packed, sweaty gym. If you share this sentiment, purchase some hand weights (which are also called dumbbells) and give these exercises for your whole body a try.

EditSelecting Your Hand Weights
Know what hand weights are good for. Keep in mind that hand weights are also called dumbbells or free weights. Exercises that use hand weights are good for building up strength, increasing your endurance, and building muscle mass.

Purchase a set of hand weights if possible. It is good to buy varying dumbbell weights because you can then progressively challenge yourself as you progress with your weight training. The standard combination of weight to buy is two 5 pound weights, two 10 pound weights, and two 15 pound weights. To test whether or not a set is good for you, pick up the smallest weight in the group. Lift and lower this hand weight 10 times. If you are exhausted and don’t think you could do more than 10, that weight set is too heavy.[1]
Similarly, If you have spent a lot of time working out and think that these weights won’t challenge you, purchase heavier weights. Employees at your local sport goods store should be able to help you determine which set of weights will work best for you.

Decide what kind of style you want. Some hand weights have contours that guide you as to where to put your fingers. Others are smooth. They come in a variety of colors and materials, including metal, neoprene or plastic. Determine which kind you want based on your personal preference.
Keep in mind that a hand weight that has a grip that is too wide will cause more fatigue than normal.

Determine the number of reps you are comfortable with. Reps are the number of times you do a certain exercise. Listed below are different exercises you can do with hand weights. The number of reps, however, is up to you and your comfort level. Generally, a person just beginning to use dumbbells will begin with 10-12 reps on each exercise and then work his/her way up from there.
EditWorking Out Your Chest
Bench press with hand weights. You will need a stepping stool, camping cooler or workout bench for this exercise. You could also lie on the floor, an exercise ball or stack some books for extra spinal support. Lie back on the camping cooler or bench so that your knees touch the edge of the platform and your feet are firmly planted on the ground.Hold a dumbbell in each hand. The dumbbells should be lying along your body at chest level. Your palms should be facing towards your feet.

Raise the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling. Your elbows should be close to locking but they should not quite lock. Hold the dumbbells in the air for a moment, keeping your arms steady.

Lower the dumbbells back to your chest and repeat these steps.

Do the Lying Fly exercise. You will again need a bench or camping cooler for this exercise. You can also lie on the floor or on an exercise ball or stacking books. You must lie with your knees touching the edge of the camping cooler or bench and your feet firmly planted on the ground.[2]Grab a dumbbell with each hand. Spread your arms so that they run perpendicular to your body, holding the dumbbells at body height.

Raise the dumbbells until they are side by side above you. Hold them there for a moment and then lower them back to body height.

Try to keep your elbows bent at the same angle throughout this exercise.

Do the straight-arm pullover. Lie on the top end of your bench. Your feet should be firmly and flatly placed on the ground.Hold a one hand weight with both of hands so that your arms extended above your head. You should try to keep your arms as extended as possible.

Raise the hand weight straight up into the air. The top of one end of the hand weight should be facing the ceiling. Hold the weight in place for a moment.

Slowly release your arms back down to their position above your head. Repeat.

EditWorking Out Your Back
Do the wide row exercise. Working out your back will not only make you look good, but it will also keep your back healthy and strong. For this exercise, keep in mind that you should breathe out when lifting the dumbbells up, and breathe in when releasing them back into resting position.Get into a semi-squat position with your torso flexed forward while bending at the hips. Keep the back straight throughout. Hold one dumbbell in each hand so that your palms are facing your body. The dumbbells should start just below your knees.

Lift the dumbbells straight up so that your arms form right angles. You should not alter how your knees and hips are bent.

Hold the dumbbells up for a moment and then let them slowly drop back down into resting position.

Do the deadlift exercise. The deadlift will work out your back (extensors), glutes, and hamstrings.Stand straight with the knees slightly bent.

Lower the dumbbells until they hang over the top of your feet by bending at the waist. Keep your back straight, and do not move your legs. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

Raise yourself back up slowly to starting position. Repeat.[3]

EditWorking Out Your Shoulders
Do a palms-in shoulder press. Have toned shoulders can be very attractive and really well-toned shoulders can even be seen through clothing. Impress your crush with some rocking shoulders.[4]Stand up, holding dumbbells in both hands. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level. Your palms should be facing each other.

Extend your elbows until they come close to locking. The dumbbells should get raised straight into the air–hold them in this position for a moment.

Slowly lower your arms so that the dumbbells are back at shoulder level.

Do a seated shoulder press. Sit on the edge of a chair, bed, workout bench, couch or box.Lift the dumbbells so that they are at shoulder height with your palms facing forward.

Push the dumbbells straight in the air. Your elbows should come close to locking but do not lock.

Hold the dumbbells in the air for a moment and then slowly lower them back to your shoulders.

Do a lateral raise. Lateral raises are a great standing exercise to buff up and tone your shoulders. You can also do them while sitting but instead of holding the dumbbells in front of you, hold them down by your sides.[5]Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hold your hands in front of your hips. Your palms should be facing each other.

Lift your arms out to your sides until they are almost parallel with the ground. Hold them in this position for a moment and then release them back down to your hips.

EditWorking Out Your Biceps
Do an alternating bicep curl. A bicep curl is the standard bicep workout done with hand weights. Doing an alternating curl means you switch back and forth between your arms so that you get an even workout.[6]Stand with your feet apart and flat on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let each hand hang down at your side with your palms facing forward. As you curl up, your palms should be facing your shoulder.

Raise your right dumbbell so that it reaches shoulder height by curling your forearm up towards your chest. The underside of your forearm should face up towards the sky.

While lowering the right dumbbell, begin to lift the left one up in the same manner. Avoid jerking your body backwards to help you lift the dumbbells. If you are doing this, your dumbbells are too heavy.

Do a hammer curl. A hammer grab is another way to work out your biceps. This gets its name from the way you hold the dumbbell like the handle of a hammer.Grab a dumbbell in each of your hands so that your palms face in towards your body. Hold your arms down by your sides.

Curl your arms and lift the dumbbells so that the tops of the dumbbells come toward your shoulders. The inner side of your forearm should be facing to the side.

Do a seated isolated dumbbell curl. Seated arm exercises can be great to do while watching TV. This is called an isolated exercise because it only works one of your muscle groups.Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Hold one dumbbell in your right and let your arm hang down so that your right elbow rests against the inside of your right thigh.

Raise the dumbbell until it almost reaches shoulder height. It should not actually reach your shoulder or else the bicep will disengage. Hold it there for a pause of 5 to 10 seconds and then slowly lower it back to towards the ground.

Repeat these steps with the other your other arm.

EditWorking Out Your Triceps
Do a two-arm tricep extension. This workout only uses one dumbbell. You can do this while standing or sitting.Grasp one dumbbell with both of your hands and hold it behind your head. Your arms should be bent into right angles with your forearms running along the sides of your head so that the dumbbell is behind your head.

Extend your elbows and lift your forearms so that they are pointed vertically above your head with the dumbbell. Hold that position for a moment and then lower them back to the right angle position behind your head.

Do a triceps kickback. Stand with your back straight, and hinge forward from the hip. Start with arms hanging down, with your elbows to your ribs. This is the start position. Lift from the forearm only, so that the arm straightens parallel with the torso. The palm should turn up as it approaches the hip. As the elbow bends, lower the forearm. Repeat for the desired number of sets and repetitions.
Do a lying-down extension. Lie down on your back either on the ground or on your bed. If you have a workout bench at home, lie down on that.Hold a dumbbell in each hand so that your palms are facing up. The outside of your forearms and elbows should be facing up towards the ceiling so that your arms create two upside-down ‘V’s. This is the resting position.

Raise the dumbbells up to the ceiling by extending your elbows. Hold the dumbbells in the air for a short pause and then lower them back down to the resting position.

EditWorking Out Your Lower Body
Squat with dumbbells. You can easily use dumbbells to add resistance to squats. This exercise will help you build strength in your lower body.Hold a dumbbell in each hand while in a standing position.

Squat straight down by bending your knees. Do this so that the dumbbells are just above the floor. Hold that position for a moment.

Slowly stand back up, keeping your arms steady, your back straight, and your abs clenched.[7]

Do dumbbell lunges. This exercise will work out your quadriceps in the front of your thighs. These are like normal lunges, only you are holding dumbbells.Hold a dumbbell by your side in each hand.

Take a wide step forward with your right leg and lower your body. Keep your left leg still and your back straight.

Push your heel down as you raise yourself back to starting position.

Do the desired amount of repetitions before switching to your left leg. Make sure you do the same number of repetitions for both your right and left leg.[8]

Add weights to calf raises. As the name implies, calf raises will work out your calves. For this, you will need a wooden plank, platform, or a thick book about two or three inches off the ground.Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, and hold them by your side.

Stand with the ball of your wooden on a wooden plank or platform. Your heels should begin by resting against the ground.

Raise your heels while exhaling, and lower yourself on the inhale.[9]

Combine upper and lower body exercises. If you want to increase the intensity of your exercise without increasing the length of your work-out, you can combine upper and lower body workouts. You might try:An overhead press as you squat

Walking lunges with bicep curls

Sumo squats with upright rows

EditSample Exercises
WH.shared.addScrollLoadItem(‘5ce369b16f831’)Beginner At Home Hand Weight RoutineWH.shared.addScrollLoadItem(‘5ce369b16fad9’)Intermediate At Home Hand Weight RoutineWH.shared.addScrollLoadItem(‘5ce369b16fdba’)Simple Hand Weight Exercises
Increase the amount of weight lifted each circuit.

Do one set immediately after the other, no resting in between sets.

When working out your muscles, start with the large muscle groups. These are the chest, back, front of the thigh (quadriceps), back of the thigh (hamstrings), buttocks (gluteals), and shoulders (deltoids). Then afterward, or second in priority, focus on the smaller muscles, such as the biceps, triceps, calves, and abdominals.

Start off with 1 complete circuit and work your way up to 3 circuits.

When doing lateral raises, be careful not to do the ‘pouring the pitcher’ method some people teach. This can cause irreparable damage to the muscles in your shoulder. Instead, do the opposite motion. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, lean forward slightly to align the muscles in your shoulder, raise the dumbells and rotate your arm so that your thumb ends up facing upwards and your forearm facing forward. This keeps the muscle underneath the shoulder bone from rubbing against bone, while still exercising your shoulder muscles

Be cautious about lifting weights that are too heavy. You could pull a muscle or throw out your back if you attempt to lift weights that are too heavy.

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