Blushing is a condition which causes the face to redden when the sufferer is in an anxious or embarrassing situation. Frequently the redness will also affect the ears, neck and upper chest area.
It is accompanied by a tingling sensation and an uncomfortable feeling of heat.
Blushing is an unconscious reaction to certain external events and is not physically harmful however it doe’s often cause emotional distress to the sufferer.
They become embarrassed by this perfectly normal reaction and start to worry about blushing the next time they are in a similar situation.
The anxiety this creates can become so severe that the sufferer will try to avoid being in a situation which may trigger it.
This in turn creates a new problem, social anxiety, where even the thought of being in social contact can bring on the blushing and discomfort associated with it.
The origin of blushing can usually be traced to particular event in childhood or adolescence (e.g. being singled out in class or a social situation). Often the embarrassment felt by the situation creates a viscous circle in which the sufferer sub-consciously links blushing with that situation thereby creating a loop where they begin to anticipate blushing at embarrassing times. This makes them tense and worried when they find themselves in a similar situation and this causes the blushing to occur.
In effect they are unwittingly programming their sub-conscious mind to always react this way.
They may think they are helping themselves by trying not to worry about blushing however this only exasperates things. In order to try not to worry about something it is necessary that you concentrate on that thing.
This re-enforces it even more strongly in the unconscious brain.
Tell some one not to think about something and they immediately begin to think about that thing.
Blushing is caused by the widening of the tiny muscles in our blood vessels under the skin. Normally these muscles are partly contracted giving us our natural complexion. If these muscles are fully contracted, the blood vessels are closed and less blood can pass through them, which causes the skin to become pale. On the other end of the scale, if these muscles are relaxed and widened, more blood than normal can pass through, causing the skin to become redder.
These tiny muscles are controlled by our autonomic nervous system which can be affected by a number of factors, including heat, illness or our emotions. If we are emotionally sensitive or our autonomic nervous system is working too hard, blushing may be more common. Therefore emotions such as embarrassment, guilt, nervousness or shame can often cause blushing.