Today I’ll give you an overview of the most common facial anxiety symptoms you may experience and why they occur.
Once I learned exactly why these symptoms were occurring, I was able to start better managing them on my own.
If you have anxiety or panic disorder, I know you can relate to believing something is seriously wrong with you whenever you get a strange symptom out of nowhere!
When panicking about a symptom, logical reasoning flies out the window. I know because this happened to me every time a new physical anxiety sensation appeared.
But perhaps when you try to Google these symptoms, you feel frustrated because there’s not always enough information about the less talked about anxiety symptoms.
It is still so seldom talked about that many people do not realize anxiety is more than just worrying!
When I first started frantically Googling every symptom I had, I would often end up feeling even worse than before!
I would stumble across medical sites (you know the ones) that would tell me my symptom was always serious.
Let me just say that anxiety symptoms are completely normal, although they can feel pretty damn terrifying and sometimes downright weird.
The symptoms I’ll talk about in this blog all relate to facial sensations, and when I first started experiencing them, I would freak out and think I was having a stroke!
I would stare at my reflection and look for signs of drooping in my face or slurred speech, and even when it was obvious I was okay, a little nagging voice would still linger at the back of my mind and leave me feeling unsettled for the rest of the day.
If you’re experiencing weird sensations in your face along with your anxiety, keep reading and see which ones you may relate to on this list.
1. Facial Tightness/Tension and Pain In The Face
This symptom feels like a tightness or “pulling” in the face, similar to when you leave a clay mask on for too long.
It could be in one area (often the jaw or forehead) or all over your face. When I experienced it, my face would feel tight and weird on one side often.
You may also experience pain, like a dull throbbing ache or shooting pains anywhere in your face.
This tension may also extend into your head, neck, and shoulders.
What causes tension and pain in the face?
This symptom is not pleasant at all, and when you experience it for long periods, it can be debilitating.
There is a logical explanation for your facial tension anxiety symptoms, even though it may feel like they don’t make sense.
When you’re in a heightened state of stress or anxiety your body naturally releases hormones that stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.
When this happens, your muscles to tense up in preparation for the fight or flight response, and eventually, this tension or tightness can lead to pain and other weird sensations, which we’ll talk about in this article.
💡 Here are a few ways to get facial tension relief:
Finding ways to release tight muscles can give you the facial tightness and tension relief I know you’re desperately seeking.
For me, taking magnesium for anxiety is a lifesaver. Magnesium is better for long-term relief; it also helps boost your mood and improve your sleep.
However, if you’re seeking instant relief, then an external magnesium gel or magnesium spray may be a better option for you right now.
⏰ Setting reminders on your phone is a good tip because sometimes we genuinely need to be reminded to RELEASE the tension.
Take a second right now to notice the tension in your jaw and forehead for example... then release it.
Or, try this tension relieving meditation I made on Youtube.
2. Facial Tingling & Numbness
If you’ve ever wondered, “Can tingling in my face be caused by anxiety?” you’re not alone. Tingling in my face would always scare the heck out of me!
Anxiety and face tingling go hand in hand and if you’ve ever had it, you can relate when I say it feels like a pins and needles sensation.
Facial tingling due to anxiety can occur anywhere on your face and scalp.
For me, it was usually either around my mouth, jaw, on my lips, or one side of my face (hence the checking for droopy features I mentioned earlier!)
What causes tingling in the face?
When your stress response is activated, blood pulls away from certain areas and goes where your body feels it needs it most. In this case, your face/head area.
This sudden rush of blood may lead to the tingling sensation you feel in your face and other parts of your body (like legs and arms).
💡 Here are a few ways to get facial tingling relief:
When having a panic attack, you breathe faster, causing tingling in the hands and feet and even numbness.
Instead of immediately allowing yourself to jump to the conclusion that something is seriously wrong (difficult in the moment, I know), remind yourself to breathe.
Deep breathing is so important when in the midst of panic.
I especially love the alternate nostril breathing technique to help control my breath, especially when I’ve taken in too much oxygen.
You can find a video of me demonstrating the technique here:
- Close your one nostril with your thumb and inhale through the other nostril.
- Close the nostril you’ve just breathed in through and exhale the air through the other nostril.
- Now breath in through the nostril you’ve just exhaled out of before closing and exhaling through the other nostril.
- Repeat at least 5 times and do it throughout the day, whenever you need to clear your mind and get focused.
3. Facial Redness
When I was studying as an aesthetician (many moons ago), there was an incident one day that was quite unpleasant.
Long story short, a girl I went to school with freaked out at me one day (I understand now that she was dealing with mental and emotional issues). She cornered me and threatened to throw a chair at me.
Writing this down seems amusing now, but at the time I was terrified.
After things settled down and I went to talk to the school director in her office, my whole face and chest started burning and turned super red.
It was like some random rash that erupted out of nowhere. It stayed for an hour or two and started to die down and fade when I relaxed.
This redness also feels hot to the touch and can burn quite intensely.
What causes facial redness?
I learned that this redness happens due to dilated blood vessels when stressed.
Thinking back, I had it happen a few times when I was upset or very nervous, like before a speech at school.
I had no idea what was happening but knew it only came when I wasn’t happy.
💡 Here are a few ways to get relief from redness in your face:
The redness will eventually subside as your blood flows normally once again.
But, if the warm-to-the-touch skin bothers you, you could use an ice pack or something cold on your skin to find some relief.
I also like to carry a cold bottle of water with me to sip if I feel flustered.
4. Facial Twitching
Ah, twitching, my old friend. NOT.
Twitching always used to get me into a state of panic! The biggest reason why is when I looked up my symptoms, I came across article after article about debilitating diseases!
Sitting with my finger hovering over the Google search bar would get me into a fear state. I would sweat, shake, and my heart would race.
I’m embarrassed to admit that, but I know you may relate reading this, so I want to be honest.
Fear is a scary emotion to have, and it can seriously mess with your headspace.
Twitching would trigger fear, and as a twitch came on, I would obsess over it. And guess what? It only got worse. Sometimes it would hang around for weeks!
No, make that months.
I started with a twitch in my finger, then my wrist, my ankle, my knee, my eye, you name it, and it’s twitched. That sounds a little weird, but seriously, I have twitched everywhere! Yes… my butt too.
I even started crying one morning when my eye twitch got super intense because I thought it was serious.
Trust me, crying makes eye twitching worse. I learned the hard way.
So you may know about eye twitching, maybe your eye is twitching as you read this, but perhaps you’re wondering what other parts of your face can hop, skip and jump too.
I’ve had twitching in my forehead, my cheeks, my nose (that one was a little uncomfortable), my eyelid, under my eye, my lips, my neck, my jaw, yep all over my face.
The more you panic and stress and tense up your muscles, the more intense the twitches get and the longer they hang around.
What causes anxiety and facial twitching?
To give you the best possible answer, I am going to quote directly from a website that helped me tremendously when I was dealing with anxiety symptoms:
“Behaving apprehensively stresses the body. A body that becomes overly stressed (stress-response hyperstimulated) can cause the nervous system to behave erratically, which can cause nerve impulses to fire erratically. Since nerve impulses control muscles, an erratically behaving nervous system can cause muscles to twitch. As long as the nervous system is even slightly overly stressed, it can cause erratic muscle twitching.”
So as you can see, anxiety is definitely to blame for chronic muscle twitching and as long as your body remains in a heightened state of stress, the twitch will stick around.
For me, just learning that they weren’t serious was really all I needed. I became far more relaxed every time I had a twitch, and this chilled out response caused them to disappear much quicker!
💡 How to stop anxiety muscle twitching:
This is going to sound too easy to be true, but the best tip I can give you when it comes to stopping muscle twitches is to stop focusing on it!
I would walk around for hours, days, weeks, obsessing and giving attention to a twitch.
And, of course, it stuck around.
The moment I would catch myself no longer thinking about it, is when I’d realize the twitch was “magically” gone.
Now, I realize saying “stop thinking about your twitch” likely isn’t going to help you in this moment!
Just as magnesium helps for tension and pain, it too helps for twitching. Magnesium relaxes tense muscles, which are often the cause of twitching.
Here are a few of my favourite magnesium brands I personally recommend and use:
Organifi Essential Glycinate (save at checkout by using code TAMRYN)
I hope this blog helped you relax and worry a little less if you’re experiencing any of these facial anxiety symptoms right now. If you did find it helpful, consider joining my free newsletter for weekly inspiration, advice, and help.