Tips to Stop Blushing
Are you interested to know how to stop blushing? While not everyone who blushes has social anxiety, a lot of people with social anxiety have a problem with blushing.
We all know what blushing is—when your face goes red (and sometimes your neck and chest too). 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. Seems a bit backwards, eh? Blushing tends to happen when you feel anything but relaxed.
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, getting too hot, or drinking caffeine.
People with social anxiety tend to blush when they feel embarrassed. Or, they tend to feel embarrassed when they blush. Both, actually.
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.
So how do you stop blushing? The main recommendation if you also have social anxiety is to practice techniques you would learn in cognitive-behavioral therapy. But there are also some other options.
Let’s take a look at them all below.
Okay, first things first. If you have a severe problem with blushing, it might be worth asking your doctor if there could be an underlying medical cause. Treating that underlying medical condition to help to relieve your blushing.
Some medications can also cause blushing, so it’s important to tell your doctor if blushing has become a problem after starting a medication.
For people with very severe blushing, there is also a surgical option: endoscopic thoracic surgery (ETS) where they cut the nerves that cause your facial muscles to dilate, preventing you from blushing. But—this surgery can have complications so it should really only be a last resort.
If your blushing is severe and bothers you, other options might be using makeup to make it less noticeable or avoiding things that seem to trigger your blushing, such as overheating or eating certain foods.
And, if you have severe social anxiety, taking medication for that problem may also help to reduce your blushing.
But, if the biggest part of your problem is how you feel about your blushing, read on to the next section as there are some solutions to that.
What happens when you blush? If you have social anxiety, you probably think that everyone around you is judging you, laughing at you, or thinking you are weird.
The goal of cognitive therapy is to gradually work on those thoughts over time, so that eventually you develop new neural pathways in your brain that are triggered when you are in a situation where you blush.
So, let’s take a step back.
Are people really judging you when you blush?
Let’s imagine you are in a meeting at work. Your supervisor puts you on the spot and singles you out about something. Good or bad, it probably doesn’t matter if you have social anxiety, it might still make you blush.
After the meeting, one of your coworkers says—wow, you really turn bright red, don’t you?
(Side Note: This is something that actually happened to me. Actually, it happened twice in two totally different situations).
Your socially anxious self is probably thinking, see! I told you so. Everyone thinks it’s weird when I blush. It’s so noticeable that someone even mentioned it to me.
Well yes, one person mentioned it to you.
What about the room full of other people? They might have noticed, but were they thinking bad things about you? No. Was the person who mentioned it even thinking bad things about you? Probably not. They were just the type of person to bring that kind of thing up.
The problem starts when you start to believe there is something bad about blushing.
But here’s the thing: there’s nothing inherently bad about blushing.
And it’s your fear of it that is making you miserable (if it’s related to social anxiety).
When you stop feeding the fear, ironically it will eventually stop being an issue.
So, cognitive therapy teaches you to develop an attitude that even if you do blush, it’s not that big of a deal.And the worst thing you can do is to try and stop it or hide it. That will only make it more of a problem.
All that being said, there’s also something to be said for getting yourself into a more relaxed place in general. To go along with your new neural pathways, wouldn’t it be wonderful to also have the ability to relax on cue?
You can do this if you start practicing things like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, etc. Then, when you find yourself in a situation that’s more likely to trigger anxiety, you’ll have the tools to relax more easily.
In the Moment Solutions
Now, I know that you may have also come here just looking for some quick and dirty solutions to blushing in the moment. You just want to feel better during the moment that you blush.
So, if you’re already working on the above steps, here’s some tricks for you.
First, smile when you start to blush. Research has shown that you will feel better when under stress if you smile—it’s as though there’s a backward feedback loop that tells your brain things are okay because you smiling. Magic, right?
Other quick tips include taking off clothing layers if you are literally just too hot and having an ice cold drink on hand to cool yourself down.
Remember though, these are more band-aid type solutions that should be more of a last resort while you work on the other stuff.
What about you? Do you have a problem with blushing and how do you handle it?
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