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Self help articles for blushers. Help cure blushing problem.

Social Anxiety and Blushing

Do people think it’s weird to see someone act nervous and blush for no apparent reason?  Maybe you’ve been misjudging other’s reactions for years.  Learning a little about ANTS or automatic negative thoughts can help you to understand more about this.

Since blushing is instantaneous and uncontrollable, it is a huge issue for many with social anxiety disorder.  Not everyone with social anxiety blushes and not everyone who blushes has social anxiety. However, for a majority the two do go hand in hand.

The element of surprise can often trigger blushing in people who are pre-disposed to it as a result of their social anxiety.  Being put ‘on the spot’ or made the center of attention unexpectedly can have a serious detrimental effect on you.  The resultant blushing then further embarrasses you and you wonder what people must think.

Since the physiological responses to blushing are devastatingly real to those who suffer from social anxiety, it is important to note that it is often set off by situations that aren’t rational.  Our perception is what causes our response, and not reality.  If we view the situation as embarrassing, that determines why we blush, and everyone has his own triggers for when they blush.  Some people only blush when made the center of attention in a large group, others may blush even when someone says hello to them.  It is this type of strong fear of blushing that often brings it on in very minor social situations, since we are worried and obsessive about it, which causes our brain to focus on blushing. So, you see that worrying about blushing feeds our fear and causes further blushing.

Learning that blushing is just something that happens and will pass is paramount in conquering your fear, and your ANTs.   Automatic negative thoughts (ANT) are unfounded, and generally incorrect. Not everyone notices you blush, judges you, and feels poorly about you because of it!

Social Anxiety and Blushing

Though not everyone with a blushing problem has social anxiety, it is fairly common that a person has both problems. Blushing is often a physiological effect of the social anxiety, and in order to get the blushing problem under control, working on the social anxiety problem is essential.

People with social anxiety often have difficulties with how they see themselves and how they’re seen by others. In other words, they think they’re just a big mess and everybody knows it, and that everyone is judging them based on this blushing issue. In reality, those things couldn’t be more inaccurate. Most people scarcely notice if someone has a blushing problem, and if they do, they really don’t think much of it. On the other hand, constant fretting over your perceived problem will intensify it.

Constantly having thoughts like:

  • I must look stupid
  • That girl must not criticize me
  • I shouldn’t blush

can definitely contribute to the problem. Most of the time, we have thoughts throughout the day and don’t really even notice them, but when it comes to this issue, people often work themselves into such a state that they cannot control their emotions and their blushing. Those types of thoughts are not only a problem, but they are also inaccurate. Being criticized is a part of life, people just need to learn to deal with it, and blushing does not make anyone look stupid!
Positive affirmations on a daily basis can help to balance out the negative self-talk. However, sufferers need to realize this may take some time, because they are attempting to undo years of negative self-image.

Why do people blush?

When you are embarrassed, you blush- the two things just naturally occur together.  Sudden self-consciousness causes the natural flushing response and it’s typically overlooked.

Since blushing can be emotionally debilitating for some people, scientists have worked to better understand the physical process involved so that they can help sufferers alleviate the worst symptoms.  The psychological side of blushing, however, remains a mystery.

Here are the physical reasons why we blush:

Your body’s sympathetic nervous system controls your fight-or-flight response to situations, and works instanteously and involuntarily.  When you get embarrassed your body releases adrenaline, which is a natural stimulant- it speeds your heart rate and breathing, slows your digestive system, and enlarges your pupils.  These effects all prepare your body to fight or run, and they account for the instant of shock you feel when you’re embarrassed.

The adrenaline release also dilates your blood vessels, called vasodilation, to improve oxygen and blood flow to the cells.  This is what actually causes you to blush.  Your facial veins respond to a signal which allows adrenaline to dilate the veins, increase the blood flow, and causing the red cheeks that show others you are embarrassed.

Of course, there are other ways that our cheeks become flushed as well:  being in an overly warm environment, drinking alcohol, and sexual arousal.  These forms of flushing are different, because blushing is only phenomenon caused by adrenaline.

So, why do we blush? Scientists can’t answer definitely, but there are some theories:

Psychologists in the United Kingdom have posited that blushing is one way of enforcing social systems that people have established over the years. Our blushing shows others that we know we’ve made a faux pas, and we are suffering for it. It serves as a physical, though non verbal request for forgiveness. The theory is that being embarrassed shows emotional intelligence, since in order to be embarrassed; you need to have empathy and intelligence to be able to feel how others do.

For a much more detailed guide to why people blush check out Blushing Breakthrough. Blushing is treatable.

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