relax your face, elevate your mood

Allow my forehead to smooth down towards my brows
Allow my temples to relax and widen
Allow my eyes to soften and float
Allow my cheek bones to widen
Allow my nose to relax
Allow my inner ears to soften inward
Allow my lips to be easy
Allow my tongue to be easy
Allow my teeth and gums to relax
Allow my jaw to float (mentally see the jaw as a limb, distinct from the head, and imagine you have taken yours off)
Imagine a smile

These phrases help release facial tension. Sometimes, I just say to myself,

All of me

If you like, you might try recording this for yourself and listening to it from time to time. If you do tape it, pause a bit between each line so you have a chance to think about what each line means. Send the messages for peace and ease, but don’t feel you need to make anything happen. In Alexander Technique lessons you learn how to hone the mind body connection, but anyone can get a start by the simple and powerful act of thinking into the body.

We know from studies of psychophysiology that tension in the face is correlated with mental/emotional stress, and a relaxed face correlates with a state of ease and happiness. In fact, there’s even evidence that there is a causal relationship between putting on a smile and a boost in mood. I’m certainly not suggesting that you fake your way through the holiday season (there’s also evidence that repressing emotions may result in lowered memory retention), but I offer these phrases as a way to systematically gain more control over chronic facial tension.

Happy Holidays!

Body Project Blog ~ Where thought is the active ingredient, by Elyse Shafarman


1 reply
  1. Elyse Shafarman says:

    These types of posts bring up questions for me. I don’t think anything that I mentioned is exclusively “Alexander Technique” – in fact, I think some would argue (rightly) that none of this has much to do with what FM Alexander intended. In the AT, we do not relax parts and hope for the best, we organize the whole systematically in relationship to our external environment so that there’s no need for the parts to tense…nevertheless, human beings are complicated, and sometimes stop gaps, like relaxing the brow are incredibly helpful. Also, to a lay person, “organize the whole,” is a fairly meaningless instruction, whereas “relax the lips,” is immediately achievable and renders perceivable physical and emotional benefits.

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