GUEST BLOG: Hypnotherapy for Blushing by David Samson

It happens when you least expect it; an old flame who you hoped you’d never see again walks into your office, and suddenly your cheeks are on fire, burning red with embarrassment. Your colleagues ask you what the matter is, and you feel exposed- revealed by your own physiology.

For some people, blushing can become something much more distressing than an endearing sign of high emotion. For those who experience frequent and highly noticeable blushing, it can become highly embarrassing and distressing, and many wish they could magic away their tendency to redden in the face at the slightest sign of emotion.

Many may not think to try a therapy such as hypnotherapy to help them eradicate or manage their issues with blushing, but the psychological factors that lead to this phenomenon mean that hypnotherapy can be an effective way of dealing with the problem! Read on to discover more about why you might consider hypnotherapy as a means of curing your blushing problem.

Why do we blush?

Blushing is one of many effects of our body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response. When our brain senses danger, it sends adrenaline around our body, allowing it to prepare for the situation by either fighting or fleeing from the threat.

This causes a range of different effects, including speeding up our heart rate to help pump blood to the limbs, causing pupils to dilate to allow maximum range of vision, and slowing down digestion to allow energy to be redirected to the muscles. Our blood vessels will dilate as part of the body’s ploy to quickly send blood and oxygen to the limbs that require it, and for many this results in increased blood flow to areas such as the face. This is what causes visible blushing.

In our modern lives, many of the events that cause us fear and distress are not the kind of events that we can reasonably flee from or fight. We may therefore find ourselves experiencing the effects of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response in situations where it may feel inappropriate to be feeling such things.

There are several conditions that may cause your face to turn red, some of which are not linked to blushing. Take a look at the NHS website to learn more about blushing and the various different possible causes of facial reddening:

So, why is blushing so closely linked with feelings of embarrassment? Some people may find that blushing can be caused by a range of different emotions, and may turn red when they feel fear or anger, but embarrassment is perhaps the most common and the most well-documented cause of the blushing response. This is perhaps bound up in our social norms and conventions- when we find ourselves breaking a convention, acting out of the norm, or making a mistake which does not fit in with what we perceive others’ expectations to be, we feel embarrassed.

This unpleasant impulse guards us against making decisions which might lead us to be poorly judged or shunned by others. In early human society, and even in some societies today, poor judgment by others could constitute a real threat in certain situations. Because human society formed in such a way that human beings relied upon one another for survival, being shunned by the group or tribe could be a genuine threat to life.

It is no wonder, therefore, that we experience embarrassment as such an unpleasant emotion, and that blushing can be especially marked in embarrassing situations.

Should I seek help for my blushing?

Most people experience a blushing response from time to time, perhaps in reaction to the most extremely stressful or anxiety-inducing situations. Others, however, will find themselves blushing frequently, and may find that the blushing reaction itself becomes a cause of distress and extra anxiety to them. In these cases where blushing is affecting your quality of life, it is important to seek help.

Blushing can particularly be a problem for some people when it comes to dating and other social situations. Dating, in particular, can be a delicate and emotional experience, and as a person with a tendency to blush frequently, it is easy to start to feel uncomfortable at your face’s outward display of your inner thoughts and feelings. Many people who experience frequent blushing, therefore, find themselves shying away from social and romantic experiences and start to feel that this is affecting their ability to form new relationships and enjoy a good quality of life.

If this is the case, this is a clear sign that it is time to seek help.

Erythrophobia is the fear of blushing, and can occur in people whether or not they blush more frequently or more deeply than others. This phobia can also lead to a reduced quality of life, particularly when sufferers withdraw from social situations in order to avoid facing their fear of blushing. For those suffering acutely from erythrophobia, it is also important to seek help to ensure that your wellbeing is not impacted.

Hypnotherapy is one of the options you may consider when deciding to undertake treatment for a blushing problem.

How can hypnotherapy help with blushing?

Hypnotherapy can be very effective as a treatment to help people manage emotions and reactions to situations, and can therefore be very helpful in stopping frequent blushing as well as changing a person’s attitude towards their blushing. Hypnotherapy can help clients overcome anxiety, build confidence and fight phobias, all of which can be related to a blushing reaction.

Placing the client into a calm and focused state of hypnosis can, in itself, be a brilliant way to get clients to feel relaxed enough to explore emotions that they may have grown uncomfortable exploring due to their blushing problem. The hypnotherapist can then explore these emotions with the client and give suggestions of ways in which to subvert patterns of thinking and feeling which can lead the mind away from the types of emotions which may cause blushing. Certain exercises and visualisations can also be used to help the client manage feelings and emotions in highly stressful or emotional situations and that may help to calm the body instead of spurring on a ‘fight or flight’ response.

For many people, the worry about blushing itself can start to trigger a blushing reaction, and for these clients, it is possible to give suggestions to their subconscious minds that change the way they think and feel about blushing. After placing the client into a state of hypnosis, a hypnotherapist can give the client suggestions about new ways of thinking about blushing. Instead of thinking ‘Oh no, what happens if I start blushing now?’, or ‘Oh dear, I’m going to start blushing!’, the hypnotherapist can direct the client’s subconscious mind to supply them with thoughts such as ‘It doesn’t matter if I blush now’, or ‘I’m not going to blush.’

In this way, a hypnotherapist can help a client to overcome their body’s blushing reaction in all kinds of situations.

If you or someone you know is experiencing frequent blushing, a phobia of blushing or anxiety around blushing, consider getting in touch to find out if hypnotherapy could be the solution for you. As a licensed hypnotherapist, I have many years of experience treating all kinds of problems related to social anxiety and self-consciousness, and I would love to be able to help you with your problem!


About the author

David Samson is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Senior Qualification in Hypnotherapy Practice (SQHP) and a Diploma in Advanced Hypnotherapy (Dip.Adv.Hyp). In 2012 he was named ‘Hypnotherapist of the Year’ by the Austin Hypnotherapy Awards. David has 18 years of clinical experience working with clients both face-to-face and online, treating a variety of issues and conditions.