Life Coaching Resources


CBT Techniques


Deal with Low Self-Esteem


5 Dieting Tips


How to Be Assertive


Changing Your Life


50 Life Coaching Exercises


Overcome Jealousy


5 Jealousy Tips


Deal with a Jealous Partner


AWAKE from Anxiety




Blushing and Anxiety

Blushing with Embarrassment - Understanding the Problems

If you blush a lot or who have a heightened consciousness about facial blushing, the fear of blushing and of being embarrassed in front of others can create a number of problems

As a life coach specialising in helping people wih stress and anxiety issues, I sometimes get clients who come to me wanting help with treating or controlling blushing. This page gives information about what blushing is, possible treatment options for blushing, my observations on them and the kind of help that I would recommend if you are worried about blushing.

What is Blushing?

Blushing might be defined as facial reddening triggered by an emotional response to a situation involving other people. The emotional arousal associated with anxiety about what other people are thinking about you results in vasodilation of blood vessels - i.e when you get embarrassed this can cause the emergence of a larger volume of blood than normal nearer the surface of your skin which creates a reddening of the face, known as blushing. Facial reddening can of course be caused by other factors, such as an increase in temperature through exercise or being in a hot room but in these cases it is generally not described as blushing. It is usually only described as blushing when the redness arises from emotional arousal associated with a perception about what others are thinking about you.

The Blushing Trap

One of the problems with blushing, which I call the "blushing trap" is that it involves self consciousness and the more self conscious you get the longer the blushing may continue - or the longer your anxiety about it may continue. The following self perpetuating sequence of thoughts and results may therefore happen

Feel Embarrassed
Blushing Flow Chart1 

Blushing Flow Chart2 

Think that People are Looking at Me
Blushing Flow Chart3 

Blush even more


Treatment Options for Blushing - Is There a Way Out?

Medication to help with Anxiety

One option is to seek advice from you GP and see if they are willing to prescribe medication for helping with anxiety such as valium or beta blockers like propranalol. However, this approach:

Personally I am not therefore particularly in favour of this approach, but suggest that you consult your GP if you want further information.

Alternative and Natural Remedies for Blushing

I have seen options such as homeopathy recommended for treating blushing. However, there is some scepticism amongst parts of the medical community as to whether there is scientific research to support claims as to the efficacy of homeopathy. This approach also may not address underlying issues such as thought patterns and related emotions and anxieties which may be at the root of your concerns about blushing.

Hypnotherapy for Blushing

Some hypnotherapists suggest that they can cure blushing through hypnosis. Certainly hypnotherapy can be powerful and it may be that it can help to remove thoughts or negative feelings about blushing from your mind and imagination. However, hypnotherapy is sometimes only effective for a short while and it doesn't necessarily help you to understand what the difficulties are in your perception which may be creating anxiety around blushing. Thus if the hypnotherapy doesn't work or only works for a short time, you are not left with any techniques that you can use to help yourself get back in control of your reactions and able to cope with your self consciousness about blushing.

Surgery for Blushing

Cosmetic surgery is big business and so it is not surprising that you will find a number of services offered to cure or treat your blushing by means of surgery. In my view there are a number of potential problems with surgery offered as a cure or treatment for blushing:

CBT - A Psychological Approach to Blushing

There is research indicating that CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy is helpful for people who are finding their lives significantly affected by their anxieties around blushing and this is certainly my own experience in work with clients.

CBT works by helping you to identify the thought patterns which are underlying your fears of blushing and then giving you tools to address those negative or fearful thought patterns or to try out different constructive options for acting to take control in situations where you are tempted to avoid contact with other people or to escape because of your anxieties about blushing.

First Steps to Taking Control of Anxieties about Blushing

As a first step to taking control of your anxieties about blushing, you can create a Thoughts Diary:

Use a form similar to that below to record those situations in the day which occur which are potentially situations where you might blush. For each situation, after it has happened record the date and time of the situation, how severe your blushing was on a scale of 1-5 (1=Not very severe, 5=Extremely severe), how long the blushing episode lasted, the precise thoughts that went through your mind when you started to worry about blushing and what you then did:

Thoughts Diary of Blushing Episodes

Date & Time Situation Severity of Blushing (1-5) Time that Blushing Lasted For Thoughts (Specify as precisely as possible what you were thinking) What You Did


Balancing Statements

Once you have noted down your blushing episodes on the above form, start to think about some "balancing statements" or positive self talk that you might say to yourself when you are thinking in the way that you have noted down under the Thoughts column.

For example, if one of your thoughts is:

They must all be looking at me and thinking I am childish or silly

You might create a balancing statement to put this in perspective, such as:

Whatever balancing statements you create it is important that they are right for you - you know yourself best, so try to think of something which is positive and reassuring for you in the situation and will help you to focus on something other than yourself. Indeed making a conscious effort to focus on someone else or something else in the room or environment may itself help to take your mind away from yourself and enable you to participate actively in the situation rather than be hampered by self consciousness.

Another thing that you can do is to create a ladder ordering the situations where you might be anxious about blushing in order of their difficulty for you, with the most difficult one at the top. Start from the foot of the ladder trying out some of the situations which are not quite so difficult to see if you can get through them in a positive way, then gradually work up to the harder ones as your confidence builds.

Other techniques which may help include learning some relaxation exercises and practising these regularly so that you can approach situations in a more relaxed frame of mind.

Keep up with the Thoughts Diary to monitor whether your ability to deal with possible problem situations improves. If it does, then build on your successes. If not, or as additional help for your own efforts, then you may want to seek further professional support and advice.


Like This Page? Share it on Social Media:


- - - - - - - - -- - -

For downloadable ebook Self-Help Guides to different topics go to:

Self-Help ebook Downloads