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1. My Story . 3 2. Finding the source of the problem . 4
2.1 What is blushing and why do we do it? . 4
3. The effects of blushing on our lives . 5 4. Solving the problem . 6
4.1 Short Term . 6 4.2 Creams . 6 4.3 Make up. 6 4.4 Short Term hints and tips . 6
5.1 NLP Programming . 7 5.2 Surgery . 8 5.3 Medication . 8
6. Tips and tricks to increasing confidence . 9 7. Conclusion . 10
1. My Story I am 28 years old and have suffered with blushing for a very long time, as far back as primary school years I would say. I was quite shy as a child and would usually keep myself to myself. The earliest blushing experience I can remember happened during a praise meeting we had where, if we had achieved something good the week previous, we would have to stand in front of the rest of the school and show them all what we had done. My turn came when we had to build a dinosaur and the teacher picked mine as the winner. So, there I was standing in front of the entire school showing them my dinosaur and telling them how I made it when its head fell off. The whole school was laughing at me and I went bright red with embarrassment. From then on, it seemed anything and everything would make me go red faced. Once I had turned 16 and left school completely, I was hoping I would gain more confidence and might then be able to control this excessive blushing problem I had, but I was wrong. As I started going for interviews I would get my answers in a muddle which would make me go bright red and then for the rest of the interview, all I could think about was the interviewer looking at my beetroot face. Once I got a job, it was meeting my new workmates that made me blush, as I am standing there shaking their hand with them looking right at me, I would feel my face warming up and my confidence would take another battering. Once I had settled in at my new job, I would get teased about my constant blushing until I couldn’t take any more and I left. I then decided it was time to tackle this problem once and for all… I began researching the causes behind blushing and worked out the situations that I knew would trigger my blushing and found that my problem was due to the fact I had zero confidence in myself and I was a shy person. I took a deep breath one day soon after finding this out and confided in my doctor, who was very understanding, and told me that I wasn’t alone and didn’t think I needed medication but instead needed to feel good about myself and concentrate on all positive aspects of my life. I needed to find a way to regain my confidence when I was around other people, as I now knew it was this nervousness that was the cause of my problem, so I started looking around for ideas and started reading books on the subject. I started to read books on positive thinking and confidence building, I listened to hours of cd’s that contained tuition on ridding myself of all negative thoughts and completely retraining my thought patterns. I learnt a lot from all this material and could start to see that this could actually help me with my problems.
There were plenty of ideas and inspiration in the books I read. The idea I liked best though was the one that suggested I did something I was good at and maybe enter a competition or join a club of people with the same interest. I thought this was a good way of increasing my confidence and as I was quite good at playing snooker, I thought I would try and join a club or two and see if I could start playing in a few competitions. I then contacted a few teams in my area and was invited to play a match to test if my skills were any good. As soon as I was told this, my face went bright red at the thought of it, but I thought this may help with my problem so I went along. I now go at least twice a week and I feel lots better for it as I have made some new friends and I feel good about going and mixing with the other players, and with the help of the positive thinking tuition, I feel much more confident as a result, which has helped put an end to my excessive blushing. 2. Finding the source of the problem
We need to know and understand the reasons behind blushing so we can have the best chance of stopping it and preventing it from returning in the future. 2.1 What is blushing and why do we do it?
In technical terms, blushing is a physical reaction that gets triggered by an emotional response to one or more self-conscious thoughts. Blushing is a normal physical reaction we experience when we find ourselves in an embarrassing position. For those of us that tend to blush more frequently it is because we are very sensitive to the reactions and opinions of other people and generally have a fear of being judged. Severe cases of blushing are known as idiopathic cranio-facial erythema. When we are in an embarrassing position or we feel like attention is being drawn to us then the blood vessels in our face become enlarged, we get a warm feeling in the face and it goes bright red. Blushing becomes a problem when we attach our self-esteem and confidence to it. If our confidence or self-esteem is low then we are more likely to have the self-conscious thoughts that trigger blushing, which then knocks any confidence, or self-esteem we may have had. This vicious circle then continues and we feel that this problem with blushing is ruining our lives. Blushing can also be uncontrollable without being in an embarrassing position. Doctors tend to put this down to an over active sympathetic nervous
system. This is the system in our bodies that subconsciously regulates our organs and controls the size of the blood vessels in our face Blushing of the skin is not restricted to the face either; the neck and shoulders can become completely red or blotchy. This has been found to be caused by a nerve in the neck that runs along the second rib. This nerve also gets triggered by the emotional response that results from our self-conscious thoughts. 3. The effects of blushing on our lives Excessive blushing can have a really bad effect on day-to-day life and can stop you from doing all the things you want to. Here are a few examples from my life that you may be able to relate to: The feeling that everyone is staring at you – This can intensify the whole blushing experience and can make it last much longer as the heart gets faster and you feel your face getting warmer and even redder. Not starting conversation with a member of the opposite sex, as you know it will create a blushing episode – This can have a devastating effect on your love life and can make you miss out on your soul mate. Always wishing you were home alone so nobody could see you blush. Not going to work events or parties, as you hate the idea of mixing with people. Feeling that your on your own – This feeling can make you feel awful as it did for me. I felt much better when I started reading and replying to posts in forums where people were experiencing the same problems as me. This then helped me to open up to my family too, which then had an impact on their reaction when I blushed, as they knew how sensitive I was to the subject. For those of us that suffer from excessive blushing, we know that the effect it can have on our lives can be unbearable, we need to tell ourselves that we can rid ourselves of this problem and start to live life properly again, we just need to understand that we are not alone and that other people are there to help. 4. Solving the problem We will now take a look at the different ways of stopping blushing from happening in order for us to gain some control back in our lives by increasing our confidence and self-esteem. 4.1 Short Term There are a few ways to help us reduce the appearance of blushing, which are explained below. These short-term methods though are seen as “covering up” the problem and not attacking the route cause of it, although I have to say that when I was trying to rebuild my confidence and retrain my thoughts, the cream especially helped me as when the blushing happened, only I knew that it was happening due to the warm face but my complexion was less red and this meant the blushing was less noticeable to others. This made me feel better and helped me lift my spirits. 4.2 Creams Creams such as haemorrhoid cream are often suggested for use in reducing the redness of the face because that is what they are designed to do. It may seem a little weird or odd, as it certainly did to me, but reducing the visibility of blushing to others definitely helps in gaining confidence around others and helps build your self-esteem. 4.3 Make up Light foundations are also often suggested to men and women sufferers as they are supposed to make the blushing look less red. My experience though was that you needed to put a little too much on and a little too often. This made me feel even worse as I thought to myself that I will get laughed at with all this make up on and that made me even more nervous around people. 4.4 Short Term hints and tips Here are some good hints and tips that have helped in gaining a quick fix to the blushing problem:
1. A good tip is to imagine the people around you in their underwear. This
will help take your mind off the blushing.
2. Relaxing the body completely at the point of an upcoming blush is
another good tip. Take a slow deep breath at the same time and the redness will reduce.
3. Try to refocus your mind at the point your about to blush by thinking of
something that makes you happy. This will take your mind away from the self-conscious thoughts that trigger blushing. For instance, I used
to think about football and how I could improve my game whenever I was around a large number of people.
4. If you seem to blush uncontrollably and for no apparent reason then
take a look at your sugar intake especially sugary drinks as too much sugar has been the source of the problem for a number of people I came across while reading forums.
5. The opposite effect. When you feel a blush is about to start, the trick is
to try your best to make yourself as red as you possibly can, your mind is taken away from what usually causes the blush and the resulting blush will be minimal, if anything at all.
5. Solving the problem long term We will now take a look at what we can do in order to stop the problem of excess blushing and regain our confidence and self-esteem that we need to help get our lives back on track. To rid ourselves of this blushing problem we need to take a journey deep within ourselves to tackle the underlying issues. Along this journey we will need to increase our confidence and self-esteem. What options do we have then? 5.1 NLP Programming Neuro Linguistic Programming is the art of being able to retrain our brains processes based on the senses we experience. Upon experiencing a sense, whether hearing, seeing, smelling, touching or tasting, the brain decodes the information received, prioritises it and assigns meaning to it so the body can then process the request that the brain decides. NLP Programming enables you to get the brain to react how you want it to react in the situations that were causing the problem. So for us it would be the self-conscious thoughts that trigger blushing. The brain can make significant changes to its behaviour quite quickly if it is being trained in the right way. NLP Programming works well with hypnotherapy too as they both work on the underlying issues behind blushing. You can learn the techniques from your own home by the way of mp3 downloads or there are practitioners out there too who can help retrain your mind to think and do as you would like. This can however take a long time to get used to but continuing with the idea and really focusing on the instructions can have a tremendous effect on curing blushing. 5.2 Surgery Surgery is often seen as a last resort for most excessive blushing sufferers, I had considered surgery but I wanted to be absolutely sure that there was no chance at all of any of the other possible cures working with the determination I had to rid myself of blushing excessively. I would advise visiting your doctor and discussing with them your problems before making any decisions. To be honest it took me a long time to confide in my doctor as I felt like they wouldn’t fully understand but I am very pleased that I went and told him my concerns with the excessive blushing I had. He said I wasn’t alone and said that I needed to fully understand what is involved and the potential future problems that the surgery could cause. There is a common operation that can be performed in extreme cases. Endothoracic sympathectomy (known as ETS surgery) – this is a common procedure usually performed to help cure hyperhydrosis which is excessive sweating of the hands and underarms, however this can also benefit those of us with excessive blushing. The procedure involves operating on the nerve system within the chest and removing or disabling particular nerves that may be causing the problem. Reading from the results of people who have had this done gives mixed views as to the benefits they have received from the procedure. Most people say their blushing has reduced to a level they can cope with, but there were a few other people who had experienced heavy sweating as a result. 5.3 Medication There are a few types of medication that can help with excessive blushing. We will have a look at some of the ones currently on the market and what they are designed to do. Beta Blockers - (such as propranolol, 20 to 40 mg daily) are designed to block the action of different hormones such as adrenaline within the sympathetic nervous system. These are good if the blushing problem is caused by vasodilatation in the area, as beta blockers produce vasoconstriction. These have been found to work best on blushing sufferers who experience their blushing in specific situations, such as performing work presentations or demonstrations. A dose would be taken an hour or so before hand and this would then help decrease any blushing that would have usually taken place.
For those of us that suffer blushing at any moment when faced in a situation such as when around people generally, we would need to administer more of the medication which would increase any possible side effects and would not be a practical approach to solving the problem. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRISs) – These are commonly used for depression and anxiety disorders as they help the brain use serotonin more effectively. Serotonin is needed to metabolize stress hormones and therefore a low level of this can be a factor in causing depression. Excessive blushing sufferers use these to control the emotional response that is triggered by self-conscious thoughts. These types of pills are also used for sufferers of social anxiety disorder. These are also better for those of us that blush more uncontrollably than in specific situations. Eredicane – This has been specifically developed for helping solve excessive blushing and is available without prescription. It works by lowering the excitatory level in the brain where the emotional response is received from our self-conscious thoughts; this then helps prevent the trigger to our nervous systems that produce the physical effect. One tablet a day taken with food is enough to keep the blushing under control and is said to have no known side effects. 6. Tips and tricks to increasing confidence There are a few things we can do help our confidence grow when around others and in any other situation we find to be a problem. Have a go at some of these tips and see how good you feel.
1. Get yourself a hobby and start interacting with other people who have
the same interest. Your thoughts will become more focused towards your interest than your blushing. This was a significant part for me in curing my blushing problem.
2. Take pride in your appearance. If you look good you will feel good and
this will give your confidence a big boost.
3. If I blush, so what, blushing is cool. Try to convince yourself blushing is
good and get rid of the negative thoughts you have about it.
4. Ask yourself how would I act if I was confident? How would I feel? You
are then forced to act as if you were confident. You just need to stay that way.
5. Taking part in things you are good at is great at building confidence as
those that are not as good as you will be asking what your secrets are!
6. Be positive in everything that you do and avoid any negative thinking.
Say to yourself “I am going to do this and I am going to be great”.
7. Conclusion Excessive blushing can be a nightmare to live with, as I know only too well. The route cause of our blushing usually lies deep within us. We all need to go on this journey in order to pinpoint the exact trigger so we can begin sorting the problem out. There are several steps we can take to temporarily fix the problem as we continue trying to find the long-term solution that is best suited to us individually. There are also things we can do to improve our confidence that will also help towards solving the problem. Most importantly of all though, we need to understand that we are not alone in our suffering and there is plenty of help out there. Talking to your family about it is another big step to take but the rewards can be better than you expect as they may want to help you or know of a relative that had the problem years ago and may well know of a solution that would help you. I sincerely hope that you have gained some useful information from reading this report and I wish you every success in finding your cure to the problem that effects so many of us. Best of luck, Stuart
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