How to Control Blushing
Are you wondering how to stop blushing? While not everyone who blushes has social anxiety, a lot of people with social anxiety have a problem with blushing.
And, blushing is really hard to stop once it starts, especially when you have thoughts like “oh no, it’s happening again,” or “this is terrible, I have to make it stop.” It’s those very thoughts that can make your blushing feel unbearable.
We all know what blushing is—when your face goes red (and sometimes your neck and chest too). But what causes it?
What are the Causes of Blushing?
The physiology behind blushing involves the blood vessels in your face widening to allow more blood up near the skin. In other words, the nerves in your body are sending a signal to relax those muscles.
Some people naturally blush more easily than others, and some people have problems with blushing due to medical conditions such as rosacea.
Other people tend to blush when exposed to certain triggers like spicy food, being too hot, or drinking caffeine.
People with social anxiety tend to blush when they feel embarrassed and also to feel embarrassed when they blush. This sets you up for a vicious cycle.
6 Ways to Stop Blushing
Have you come here looking for quick tips to stop blushing in the moment? Perhaps you just want to feel better during the moment that you blush.
Or, maybe you want a solution that will actually reduce your blushing. Below are some ideas to help.
When you first start to feel yourself blush, try smiling. Research has shown that you will feel better when under stress if you smile. This is because your smile sends a backward message to your brain that everything is okay because you are smiling.
If you find yourself blushing, it can also be helpful to slow down your breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold briefly, and then breathe out for a count of 4.
Feeling as though you are getting hotter and hotter can contribute to blushing once it starts. One way to stop yourself from blushing is to get cool.
You can do this by taking off clothing layers, drinking something cold, or moving to a colder location. If you know you’ll be in a situation where you might blush, drinking something cold beforehand might even help.
You can also practice some imagery if you find yourself becoming hot. Try imagining yourself jumping into an ice-cold lake and the cold water cooling you off. This act of visualization should help you to feel calm and cooler.
Psychotherapist Mark Tyrrell successfully used this technique with a client named “Robert” who practiced a form of self-hypnosis. This makes sense, since blushing is an unconscious response rather than a conscious one. If you’d like to try your hand at self-hypnosis, there are hypnosis downloads available specifically for blushing.
Free Training: "Conversation Advice for Overthinkers"
Check out this free training offered by the experts at Social Pro Now!
- How to use "Conversational Threading" to avoid awkward silence
- The proven way to get past boring small talk
- Instantly beat self-consciousness with the "OFC-method"
- Busting the myth that you have to get a "more interesting life" to be more interesting"
Accept the Blushing
One way to stop blushing that might seem counter-intuitive is to accept the fact that you blush. When you start to blush, it can become easy to fixate on the problem. In fact, the fear of blushing is called erythrophobia and can be a real impediment to feeling okay with blushing.
However, there are lots of reasons why people blush. Some people blush for no reason at all (a condition called idiopathic craniofacial erythema). And, research shows that people who blush may actually be viewed as more trustworthy.
So, there is value in accepting the fact that you blush. If nothing else, feeling less focused on the fact that you blush may actually result in you blushing less (ironically).
Shift Your Focus
Another way to stop blushing in the moment is to shift your focus. If you are focused on the person that you feel made you blush (e.g., if someone asked you a question), it’s fine to avert your eyes or avoid eye contact for a few minutes until you regain your composure.
Another tactic is to focus on the question that you are asked rather than the person asking you the question. Closing your eyes briefly might help too. Doing things to shift your focus can help to reduce your blushing.
While wearing makeup won’t help you to stop blushing, using green color-correcting makeup can help to camouflage if your face does turn red. Coincidentally, if you feel as though your blushing won’t be as noticeable, you might actually find yourself blushing less.
Exercising before an event in which you think you will blush may help to reduce your blood pressure, which can temporarily reduce the likelihood of you blushing. Yoga and meditation can also be helpful for improving your ability to relax.
(Watch the video below from Youtuber Nerd With a Voice for a unique way to stop blushing based on advice from author and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl).
6 Ways to Prevent Blushing
While it can be helpful to stop blushing in the moment, it may be even more helpful to prevent blushing in the long term. Below are some options to explore if you want a more permanent solution to your blushing.
Rule Out Medical Causes
If you have a severe problem with blushing, it might be worth asking your doctor if there could be an underlying medical cause. Treating an underlying medical condition could help to relieve your blushing.
Rule Out Medications
Some medications can also cause blushing, so it’s important to tell your doctor if blushing has become a problem after starting a medication.
Explore Surgical Options
This involves cutting the nerves that cause your facial muscles to dilate, preventing you from blushing. However, this surgery can have complications so it should be a last resort.
If you notice that certain things trigger your blushing, it may make sense to avoid them. For example, if spicy food causes you to blush, you may not want to indulge in it during a business dinner.
Other things that might trigger blushing include wearing heavy or hot clothing, sitting in the sunlight too long, or consuming caffeine. Try to keep track of when you blush and if there are certain things that trigger it.
Use Anxiety Medication
If you have severe social anxiety, taking medication for that problem may also help to reduce your blushing. Talk to your doctor if you think that your social anxiety is causing severe problems in your daily life.
Try Cognitive Therapy
The goal of cognitive therapy is to gradually work on the negative thoughts that you have about blushing. Eventually, you would develop new neural pathways in your brain that would be triggered when you are in a situation where you blush.
Imagine you are in a meeting at work. Your supervisor puts you on the spot and singles you out about something. After the meeting, one of your coworkers says—wow, you really turn bright red, don’t you?
The goal of cognitive therapy would be to change your thoughts about what happened. Instead of thinking, “Everyone thinks it’s weird when I blush,” you would learn to turn that into a more helpful thought like, “Some people might notice me blush, but it’s not really a bad thing.”
As you can see, there are numerous ways to both manage blushing in the moment as well as prevent it from happening in the future.
If you’re interested in tools and resources to help you with social anxiety, be sure to sign up for the free social anxiety resource library at the top or bottom of this page.
Have you had problems with blushing? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.
Related Articles about Social Anxiety Symptoms
- How to Get Over the Fear of Eating in Public
- 8 Tips to Beat Driving Anxiety
- Safety Behaviors for Social Anxiety
How to Stop Blushing
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
Online Therapy: For online therapy, I have personally used and like the service offered by Betterhelp. It's easy to get started from the comfort of your home. You'll even get a discount on your first month of therapy when you use my link.
Doctor Visits: For doctor visits, Web Doctors offers convenient online appointments.
Audible Subscription: I recommend a lot of self-help books on this site, but I actually prefer an audiobook subscription over print books! My favorite subscription service is Audible because it has all the best-sellers and they stay in your digital library forever (even if you end your subscription). You can sign up for a free trial and listen to your first two books for free.
Social Anxiety Masterclass: The Social Anxiety Masterclass is my signature course where I walk you through everything I know about how to manage social anxiety. If you're not ready to enroll in the course, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter to hear about special deals!