Have you ever believed yourself to be the centre of attention and that everyone is looking at you?

Perhaps someone has singled you out, putting you on the spot by asking you a question in front of a group of people. Maybe in a work meeting your boss surprised you by asking a question that you could not answer or someone cracked a joke that you found sexist or embarrassing.

How to stop blushing

Being put on the spot is a primary trigger for blushing as it involves situations that you weren’t expecting to happen.

You blush, feel embarrassed and worry that others may see your red face and judge you negatively.

Indeed for some people, the fear of blushing can be so intense that they literally bring the blushing on themselves even in relatively stress free situations. Follow these tips to make sure you keep the red face away.

1. Relax your blushing away

When we blush we can become tense and embarrassed.The more we try and prevent ourselves from blushing, the more we are likely to blush. This leads to a vicious circle of anxiety, tension and embarrassment and more blood is forced to the face.

There are many forms of relaxation from meditation and Yoga to standard progressive relaxation techniques you can find relaxation apps on your smart phone.

Relaxation helps to train your body to let go whenever you feel the blushing coming on, or feel that you might go red.

2. Acceptance

It is difficult to accept the fact that you are a blusher. However that is precisely what you need to do. Do not try to fight it.

Making your blushing worse

When you think you are going to blush, it is a natural response to try and fight it, but as I am sure you have already discovered, this just increases your anxiety levels. It is this heightened anxiety, particularly in social situations, that causes you to blush.

You need to change your attitude towards your blushing.

At the moment you may hold a belief such as: “I absolutely must not blush and if I do it’s terrible. People will judge me harshly.”

Instead try telling yourself: “At the moment, I am a blusher. It’s just what my body does. I don’t like it but I can handle it and still accept myself in spite of my blushing.”

Try to adopt a, “so what, it’s not the end of the world” attitude towards your blushing.

Learn to accept yourself

In spite of the fact that you blush, you will start to take the pressure off yourself and the blushing is far more likely to go away. Try not to define yourself by your blushing. Give it an insignificant place in your life.

You could ask yourself, “What would I do if I didn’t have this blushing issue?”

Then, consider whether you can do these things in spite of the blushing. Value yourself regardless of the blushing. This may not be easy; but it’s not impossible and certainly worth the effort.

3. Fear of being judged

We blush when we are embarrassed, and then become embarrassed because we are blushing. We then blush even more.

how to stop blushing_3

Much of the embarrassment about blushing is caused by the belief that others will judge us harshly.

We may believe that they will think that we are weak and naive

This type of distortion in our thinking is referred to as mind reading and occurs when we make an assumption that other people are looking down on us, and where we become so convinced about this that we don’t even bother to check it out.

You can challenge your mind reading by asking yourself the following:

“What is the evidence that I am being judged?”
“How do I know what other people are thinking?”
“Just because I assume something, does that mean I’m right?”
“If someone is thinking negatively about me, does that mean I have to agree with them?”

Everyone has had the unfortunate experience of being embarrassed and most decent people will be sympathetic about it

If people are thinking what you think they are thinking, does this mean something negative about you – such as you are weak or stupid? Or does it say more about them, such as they’re judgmental and just plain wrong!

Anyone who thinks less of you for blushing is most probably not worth knowing.

4. Announce your blushing

One thing that can keep your blushing well and truly active is the attempt to hide it. Pretending that it’s not happening keeps blushing alive and will mean that you blush more often.

You try to hide it because you perceive it as embarrassing.

However many people have found it helpful to announce they are blushing as it is about to happen. This might appear to be a counterproductive or even crazy idea.

By making light of your blushing, you learn to accept it and remove some of the heat, as well as relieve the pressure on yourself.

Examples of announcing your blushing include: “Here I go, I’m about to go red.”
”I think I might blush.”

how to stop blushing _2

This in turn can diminish the frequency of your blushing.

5. Invite the symptoms

Many of my clients find that the more they try and stop blushing the more they blush. It seems to be a vicious cycle. Some of my clients have been helped by a technique called..

The Paradoxical approach:

Peter was a regular blusher. He would blush when he was first introduced to people at work or socially. He would even blush when going into a newsagent to purchase a paper.

Peter had tried many techniques to stop blushing such as relaxation and telling himself it didn’t really matter if he blushed – all to no avail. Nothing seemed to help Peter.

I suggested to Peter that he ‘invite the symptom’

I gave him the homework assignment of deliberately trying to blush for 6 minutes 3 times a day every day for a week. I asked Peter to keep a diary of the blushing sessions and the degree to which he was able to make himself blush.

He could start at home then progress to trying to make himself blush when in public. He was also to keep note of the times he blushed when he wasn’t deliberately trying to make it happen.

At first Peter resisted the idea thinking it nonsense

But gradually he started to practice deliberately making himself blush. Peter discovered that he had far more control over his blushing than he believed and that he could cope with the uncertainty of blushing itself.

Gradually his non‐ deliberate blushing started to decrease as he accepted that he could cope. He had diminished the power blushing had over him. Once we learn to stop struggling and trying to force the blushing away then we can start to reduce it.

This requires work and practice, with a willingness to be kind and accept yourself. With patience you can do it.

Blushing can be a symptom of a medical complaint, always seek medical advice just to be safe.  

Adapted from Rethink It! Practical Ways to Rid Yourself of Anger, Depression, Jealousy and Other Common Problems. Bookline and Thinker Ltd

Connect with Expert Michael Cohen 

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