Today I’m going to give you an overview of the most common facial anxiety symptoms you may experience, and why they occur.
In fact, once I learned exactly why these symptoms were occurring, I was able to start better managing them on my own.
Before we jump right in, I wanted to tell you about my book “Help! Why Am I So Anxious?!” which documents how you can learn from my personal experience with managing anxiety and how it can help you on your journey too. You can get your own copy here: eBook, or hardcopy.
If you have anxiety or panic disorder then I just know you can relate to the feeling of believing something is seriously wrong with you every time you get a strange symptom out of nowhere!
When you’re in the midst of panic, logical reasoning flies out the window and this is what happened to me every time a physical sensation came on.
And by now I’m sure you’ve experienced all types of bizarre symptoms…
But perhaps when you try to Google these symptoms you become frustrated because there isn’t always enough info out there about the less talked about anxiety symptoms.
In fact, it’s still so seldom discussed, that many people don’t realize that anxiety is more than just worrying!
When I first started frantically Googling every symptom I had I’d often end up feeling even worse.
I’d stumble across more than one medical site telling me that my symptom was quite 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’m going to talk about in this article 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 any kind of weird sensations in your face along with your anxiety then keep reading and see which ones you may have on this list.
Facial Tension/Pain In The Face
This feels like a tightness in the face… kinda like that feeling when you leave a clay mask on for a little too long.
It could be in one area (often the jaw or forehead) or all over your face.
You may also experience pain that feels like a dull throbbing ache or even shooting pains anywhere in your face.
Often this kind of tension pain can 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 of time, 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.
This can cause your muscles to tense up in preparation for the fight or flee 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 you’re so desperately seeking.
For me, taking magnesium for anxiety is a lifesaver. Magnesium supplements are better for long-term relief, and they can help to boost your mood and improve your sleep too.
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.
Facial Tingling & Numbness
If you’ve ever wondered, “Can tingling in my face be caused by anxiety?” you’re not alone. This is one symptom that 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 even on your 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 body’s stress response is activated, blood is pulled away from certain areas and instead, sent where your body feels 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 too (like legs and arms).
Here are a few ways to get facial tingling relief:
When you’re in the midst of a panic attack, you may find that you’re breathing too rapidly. This may also contribute to 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 incredibly important when in the midst of panic.
I especially love the alternate nostril breathing technique to help control the stream of air, especially when I’ve taken in too much oxygen.
- 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.
And here are a few books on breathwork you may enjoy:
I’ve also recorded a few meditations that may help you with your breathing on my Youtube channel.
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 kind of freaked out at me one day (I understand now that she was dealing with major mental and emotional issues) and she cornered me and threatened to throw a chair at me.
Writing this down seems kind of amusing now, but at the time I was absolutely 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 started to relax.
This redness also feels hot to the touch and can burn quite intensely.
What causes facial redness?
I learned that this kind of redness is caused by a dilation of the blood capillaries and can happen when you’re in a really stressed-out state.
Thinking back, I actually had it happen a few times when I was very 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:
The redness is something that 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 in order to find some relief.
I also like to carry a cold bottle of water with me wherever I go to sip on if I find myself feeling flustered.
Ah, twitching, my old friend. NOT.
Twitching used to get me into a real state of panic, because when I looked up my symptoms all I came across were articles about debilitating diseases.
Just sitting with my finger hovering over the Google search bar would get me into a state of fear; I would sweat, shake and my heart would race.
I’m actually embarrassed to admit that, but I know that you may relate reading this so I want to be as honest as I can.
Fear is a scary emotion to have and it can seriously mess with your headspace.
Twitching would be a trigger for my 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 out with a twitch in my finger, then my wrist, my ankle, my knee, my eye, you name it and it’s twitched. Okay so 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 something 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, they’re going to 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 also 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 use:
Which of these facial anxiety symptoms have you experienced the most? Here are a few more just as common face anxiety symptoms:
Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!
And if you found this article helpful, I’d greatly appreciate you sharing on your social media channel of choice 🙂