Anxiety: Blushing Part 3: The Practical Pathway

By Brian Robinson.

My it’s hot in here.

If you’ve read part 2, you will have met with the idea that it makes sense to at least take a brief look at what practical steps may be taken to tackle the problem of blushing. Even if that turns out to be a dead end, it may help the sufferer to become resigned to this fact and to become more accepting of it. In that sense, a look at the practical considerations may be an important step in the recovery process.

The most obvious thing that springs to mind would be for the sufferer to avoid social events all together. Indeed, this may already be part of the sufferers strategy to avoid the embarrassment of blushing. Unfortunately, this would not help fix the problem. In fact, it may even make matters worse.

Avoiding the feared or uncomfortable situation pretty much always serves to maintain the problem. Indeed with phobias, repeatedly going into the feared situation is what actually solves matters. As a result of the repeated exposure, the sufferers brain becomes desensitised to the perceived threat and the problem dissolves away automatically.

However, that is not generally how things work with social discomfort. Going into the uncomfortable social situation repeatedly doesn’t really change much. This is because with blushing and social discomfort there are always psychological issues which have to be smoothed out first.

For women, a practical step may be to shield the blushing behind makeup. I’m not an expert in this field, but I believe that foundation creams exist that would be able to achieve this. For example, people often use this method to disguise scars or birthmarks.

It may even be an idea to use makeup as a form of Exposure Therapy. This might involve using a blush makeup. This could allow the sufferer to become more accustomed to having a blushed appearance and to being less concerned about that. In other words, this might go some way to normalising blushing.

There are of course other forms of Exposure Therapy. The one referred above is known as Real Exposure. However, there is such a thing as Imagined Exposure. This would be where the sufferer imagines themselves in the social situation repeatedly. This is a form of Inoculation Therapy where the person becomes less and less sensitive to social situations. Then, when the person really does visit the social scene, the conditioned response is far weaker.

Another approach could be Interoceptive Exposure. This is where the sufferer deliberately tries to make them self blush. This might involve the sufferer regularly making themselves hot and flushed through exercise. This again becomes so matter of fact, that the conditioned uncomfortable response becomes less of a problem.

You could also go to a gym regularly where it is natural for people to look flushed. This may be a practical step for men to consider. This would also be a form of Interoceptive Exposure, i.e. making yourself flush, but with the added relaxing benefit of being around others who may also be flushed.

For a more detailed explanation of Exposure Therapy and how phobias work please refer to the relevant articles on this website.

It’s hot, but that’s not so bad is it?

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