Spare Your Blushes
Nearly everyone will blush sometimes, usually from embarrassment. When that happens our cheeks will redden, which normally passes quickly although you may feel the heat of your cheeks for some time. For some people this can cause a sense of crises leading to erythrophobia (the fear of blushing) which can create an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.
Why do we blush?
Blushing is actually part of our primitive flight-or-flight response. When we’re faced with danger such as a fearsome bear then our bodies produce adrenaline, which forces our blood vessels to widen creating a better blood flow, and this is why our faces redden. This is what the NHS has to say about blushing (click here)
Erythrophobia If you suffer from Erythrophobia - you may not actually blush any deeper than anyone else but you may be excessively anxious about how you are perceived – This means that the fear of blushing is actually rooted as a social phobia.
Now you are are in grip of a vicious circle: the more you fear blushing, the more you blush, and so on. People who don’t experience it can easily become dismissive (“don't worry it’s only you blushing a bit”). However, for the erythrophobe, blushes can create overwhelming anxiety.
It is not an unusual phobia, and it’s something that hypnotherapy can help with.
Overcoming blushing in meetings: a case study A recent client of AFsFH has been helped to manage her erythrophobia. In every way, she appeared to be a confident person, and with no fear of blushing in social situations. However, she had found work meetings very challenging in case she blushed when making a contribution. This had led to a negative forecasting tendency: people would judge her, she’d be viewed as incompetent. You can see her thought trail. She therefore felt it was limiting her career prospects and so she came for help.
Making it a Catastrophy The client was so anxious that she started to catastrophise, which means that she focused on the worst possible outcomes. To the anxious mind, the route from a blush to a work demotion is a clear and sequential one. The fact that her colleagues probably wouldn’t even notice a blush ceased to compute once her brain set out along a negative forecasting path.
How hypnotherapy helped manage her erythrophobia She needed to be set along a new pathway, using a mix of techniques. Discussions revolved around converting negative thoughts into positive ones, including solution focused questioning, which helps create a vision of a preferred future outcome Trance work was used to strengthen new perceptions and goal opportunities we had discussed.
The client has now finished her therapy programme, and is happily contributing to meetings and getting the recognition she deserves.