Learn 5 psychological tricks to stop blushing in its tracks
I could feel it happening. Suddenly all the attention was on me! That horrible burning feeling in my face, can they tell? Some of us end up blushing all through life. Some seek help but find they’re just told why they start blushing. But all they want is to actually stop blushing. We blush when embarrassed, then become embarrassed because we’re blushing! So hey lets blush some more. The more we think we’re blushing, the more we blush.
So, here are five of the strategies I know that help reduce, then eventually stop, the blushing that plagues so many people through their lives.
1 – Stop the blushing cycle by ‘unmasking’.
One way to short-circuit blushing is to draw attention to it yourself. Yes, really. When you do this, the results can be amazing.
Blushing seems to be nature’s way of disclosing our true feelings. If, for example, I say I am not attracted to someone when in fact I am, I may blush. If we were totally shameless, we wouldn’t blush; but blushers tend to feel ashamed or embarrassed where others don’t. Feelings of being ‘on display’ also cause blushing.
I very rarely blush nowadays; however, for some reason I did blush once when speaking to around thirty people. But I was, excuse the pun, cool about the blushing. I said: “Oh, I don’t believe it! Look, I’m blushing!”
Actually, no one was very interested but I noticed that now I had ‘unmasked’ the blushing myself, it had nowhere to run and stopped immediately. Blushers blush because of the fear of being seen differently from how they want to be perceived.
I realise this might not be acceptable in an important business meeting, but give this strategy serious consideration because it does short-circuit the whole thing. And it fits in nicely with the next tip.
2 – Stop feeling so responsible for blushing
In the example I gave in Tip 1, I said that I was ‘cool about blushing’. Why did I not feel embarrassed about changing from my usual pallid complexion to someone resembling a bright red neon light?
It’s amazing how people feel consciously responsible for stuff that is actually generated by their unconscious mind. For example, I have much more conscious control over whether I speak rudely to someone than whether I blush or hiccup or blink.
Separate your conscious and unconscious processes. For conscious stuff, I (at least try to) take responsibility, but unconscious stuff has nothing to do with me, mate! So I felt ok about the fact I was blushing.
It’s your unconscious mind that has been producing the blood changes that lead to blushing, not your conscious mind. So really think about how much responsibility you need to feel for it. If your dog barks at a kindly stranger, you may feel responsible, but it’s your dog, not you, that barked. Really thinking about this will make Tip 1 much easier to enact.
3 – Stop blushing by learning to direct your blood flow
What? Am I crazy? Well, perhaps a little, but blood flow can be controlled through the use of the imagination. By spending five minutes daily imagining your hands heating up around an open fire, you’ll find you can easily direct more blood into your hands. By focusing on your hands heating up during times when you might typically blush, you can actually stop yourself blushing. It’s as if the blushing was still there, but only in the hands. And pretty soon, you won’t even have to do this. But there’s something else you can do too…
4 – Stop blushing by mentally rehearsing staying cool
Your body responds to preparation. What do I mean? Well, if you prepare for an event by feeling nervous when you imagine it, then this will prime your mind and body to actually feel nervous when the situation occurs.
If, on the other hand, you imagine upcoming events while feeling very relaxed, and imagine seeing yourself (from the outside) looking calm and cool, you are sending your unconscious mind and your body a powerful signal to actually be calm and cool in these situations.
This is a form of self-hypnosis and you can become very good at this. Think about typical times you might blush. When you are very relaxed, breathing deeply, imagine watching yourself in those situations looking calm and cool. The more often and powerfully you do this, the more automatic keeping cool will become.
You can even imagine a beautiful cool breeze sweeping across you in these times.
5 – How to stop blushing by rewriting history
Spend time thinking about times you blushed in the past that are really memorable (because their unpleasantness stands out). Now revisit some of these times in your mind, with eyes closed, from a detached perspective, just watching yourself in those times. Now realise that you can change those memories. Watch those past situations in your mind as if they had been fine and you had either relaxed totally about the fact you blushed or you didn’t blush at all and remained cool and relaxed.
This ‘rewriting history’ exercise sends the message to your unconscious mind that, actually, there is no real history of blushing. Your conscious mind will still know you blushed in these times, but your unconscious mind will start to feel as if the pattern had never become established.