Just the very thought of getting embarrassed is enough to set your cheeks and neck on fire. Your mind is running on overtime.
“What will people think? That’s it, there’s no way I’m putting myself into that situation again. Why does this happen to me?”
Why do we blush?Yes, yes when feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. Standing there wishing the floor to open up and swallow you, but that is more about when and not why. Essentially, it seems the jury is still out on the ‘WHY’. As far as my research could tell, humans are the only species to experience blushing, and we don’t have a definitive explanation of it’s purpose.
What we do know about blushing – It happens instantly and automatically in response to an emotion. Embarrassed and guilt being the big offenders. It is connected to our fight or flight survival system. That is why it is so powerful.We know physically what happens. I hope my little diagram explains the process, adrenaline is pumped into your body, which kicks off the sympathetic (automatic) nervous system. Messages are sent to the blood vessels to dilate when blushing, the little veins of the face open. Interestingly though veins elsewhere in your body don’t respond like this to adrenaline.
Even more interesting – Psychologically, blushing is usually set up by an event which happened some time ago. It goes a bit like this, an event happens … you have an emotional response (fear, guilt, anger). Essentially, each time something similar happens it makes the reaction (blush) stronger, the automatic response is setup in our subconscious. We don’t like uncomfortable feelings, we go out of our way to avoid them. By the time we are teenagers it may be the fear of blushing (Erythrophobia) that can lead to anxiety. The cycle has begun.
How to overcome blushing? – Gaining confidence in the situations that cause us to blush can help. There are many ways to build confidence. Hypnotherapy in the hands of an experienced therapist is one way. As it goes to the root cause and allows you to change your response to the original event and in turn the trigger events.
I would love to know if you have experienced blushing. How it affected your life? How did you deal with blushing? Or if you still find yourself blushing.