An extraordinary fact about blushing is that it is unique to humans. Charles Darwin called blushing “the most peculiar and most human of all expressions”.

Why do you blush?

The reason for blushing is not the same for everyone; being the centre of attention, someone giving you praise, being threatened? I know I blush the most when I am told I’m going red. I just feel myself getting rosier by the minute.

Blushing is the body’s natural way of communicating your emotion. For most people this emotion is shame or embarrassment. However, there is no doubt that for serious blushers (we’re not talking about a rosy glow, but a beetroot intense flare) this change in complexion can be overwhelming. It’s not surprising that so many of the students on my confidence courses ask me ‘how to stop blushing.’

The sense of embarrassment that blushing causes creates a vicious cycle. You blush, you become embarrassed, you perpetuate the blushing ad infinitum until you can escape the scene.

Does blushing alter someone’s perception of you? Because you blush, does this automatically mean that people think of you as shy or lacking confidence? Not necessarily. There are certain instances when people who blush are considered nicer and more reliable than those who don’t.

Imagine catching a colleague red handed copying your work. A blush would signify embarrassment on their part. You might therefore be more inclined to be sympathetic towards them.

Corine Dijk, a leading authority on blushing says… “It is easy to say that you trust someone who blushes more. By blushing you indicate that you are ashamed of yourself or embarrassed for making a mistake…. After all, blushing cannot be faked.”

Can you stop blushing?

Would you think I was mad if I told you, to stop blushing you should try and ‘purposefully’ blush. The chances are that if you’re a blusher you will dig your heels in, but bear with me here.

Vicious circles, like the blushing-embarrassment one, tend to take on a perpetual nature. The only way to stop blushing is to create a short-circuit. By drawing brief but intentional focus to it, you can stop blushing in its tracks.

What I mean by ‘purposefully’ blush is… when you blush say to yourself “hey, it’s OK I’m blushing – it’s normal”. This could be three or four times a day. You will begin to get a sense of control. When you ‘purposefully’ blush your emotional response will not be one of utter embarrassment and devastation but one of acceptance. Recognise that blushing is a normal human response and there is no point fighting it. Blushing is a subconscious reaction and you are not directly responsible for it.

Fearing blushing will only cause the actual blushing to become worse. By accepting that you will blush in certain situations, you won’t be so devastated by it.

So once you have accepted that blushing is natural, you can start to retrain your body to stop blushing.

On a physiological level, blushing is nothing more than too much blood flow to your face. By learning how to redirect the blood flow elsewhere you can physically stop blushing and reduce the berry-red look of a blush. By harnessing the power of your imagination, and a little practice, you can, for example, focus on your hands heating up and thereby detract blood flow from your face, and stop blushing.

Along with focusing on making changes to the physiology of blushing, you can harness your imaginative mind to retrain your body about how it reacts in known ‘blush-likely’ scenarios. Visualise yourself at upcoming events where you are cool and calm instead of crimson and flushed. You are actually re-programming your brain, and sending your subconscious the message not to blush in the actual event.

So in summary, to help you stop blushing…

1. Short circuit the rising red by drawing your own attention to it.
2. Accept it is your body’s natural response. It’s your subconscious mind working. You are not responsible, and in fact blushing can be a positive thing.
3. Direct the blood flow elsewhere.
4. Visualise yourself staying calm and cool in common blushing scenarios.

Author's Bio: 

Mike McClement, Founder Think Confidence, Self-confidence Author and Coach. Passionate about helping people achieve their potential and enjoy life to the full. Writes about all aspects of self-improvement and self-esteem.