Blushing is the reddening of the face, ears, neck and often the upper part of the chest, followed by a feeling of heat and tingling and is known technically as Erythrophobia.
Blushing is an unconscious, physical reaction that is caused by certain situations, and is a perfectly normal bodily reaction. However, for many people blushing may cause discomfort and distress as they worry about when, where and in waht situations they may blush. The embarrassment of blushing can become so severe for those who are extremely anxious in social situations that the sufferer avoids social contact in what is called Social Anxiety.
The Problem of Blushing
For many people, blushing can be traced back to a particular event and this can lead to a vicious circle of being embarrassed about the blushing and anticipating it happening again, what is known as ‘anticipatory anxiety’. Worrying about blushing often makes it more likely that it will happen again! This is because our brains tend to create automatic patterns of thinking, and for individuals who blush excessively, their brain has often automated worrying about blushing.
Trying not to worry about blushing also doesn’t help the situation as our brains can’t not think about something we’re trying not to think about. For example if you tell yourself not to think of a white rabbit, we immediately picture a white rabbit in our mind! So if we tell ourselves not to worry about blushing, we immediately think about blushing. This ‘circular problem’ is known as Coue’s law of reveresed effort.
Potential Causes of Blushing
Physiologically, blushing is caused by the widening of the tiny muscles in our blood vessels under the skin. Normally these muscles are partly contracted giving us our natural complexion. If these muscles are fully contracted, the blood vessels are closed and less blood can pass through them, which causes the skin to become pale. However, if these muscles become relaxed and widened, more blood than normal can pass through, causing the skin to become redder. This is known technically as vasodilation.
These tiny muscles are controlled by our autonomic nervous system which can be affected by a number of factors, including heat, illness or our emotions.
Hypnotherapy for Blushing
The majority of people who do blush regularly try to hide it and worry in advance about how they are going to deal with a certain situation. However this often makes it worse. Some people suffering from blushing have been able to break this vicious cycle by simply not trying to hide it worrying less about what other people might be thinking. The more they accept that part of them, the more likely it won’t happen!
Hypnotherapy can help control blushing by helping the individual to learn how to deal with it in a calmer, more relaxed way. By thinking about blushing in a different way, an individual can often feel more comfortable in situations that would usually cause them to blush. Hypnotherapy can also help to boost self-confidence and self-esteem and reduce sensitivity to situations that trigger blushing.
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Linda M. Guhe, MSW
225 S. Merame Avenue, Suite 205
St. Louis, MO 63105-3511
All conditions that may be helped using Hypnotic Techniques also require the commitment of the patient or client.
Hypnotherapy is not magic and can only help you to make changes if you have a strong desire to change and are willing to put in a maximum effort.