Whether you see blushing as a sign of embarrassment or flirtation, the sight of reddened cheeks and ears might come in handy one day. Although it’s hard to blush on cue, it’s possible to teach yourself to do it over time. Certain triggers will cause blushing on command, and are useful for those who seek that bashful, red-cheeked look.
Practice Social Faux-Pas
According to Bryn Mawr University student Maria-Scott Wittenborn, blushing is “an appeasement behavior designed to signal…that the individual in question realizes their social transgressions and asks for the group’s approval or forgiveness.” Therefore, it might be time to make some little mistakes here and there. Arrive 5 minutes late for class or pick your nose during dinner. Small social wrongs that draw the eyes of others will produce copious blushing in a short time.
Participate in Exercise
Vigorous physical activity makes blood rush to the face, which produces a very bright blush. Good activities for this include high-intensity sports like tennis, running, or cardio exercises. The goal is to do a sport that raises your heartrate and level of exertion. Avoid anything calming like golf or yoga, since these are often low impact.
Be Open to Surprise
Thomas A. Richards, PhD, director of the Social Anxiety Institute, writes, “Many times there is an element of surprise involved… you weren’t expecting something to happen and when it does, you blush.” Being caught off guard produces feelings of non-preparedness, which then produces embarrassment and anxiety. From that, the person blushes.
Think About Blushing
Dr. Richards also states that the very thought of blushing can produce blushing. Often, blushers worry so much about others catching their reddened face that it causes the very effect they wish to avoid. This is especially true of those with social anxiety, who wish to blend in with others in order to skip notice in the crowd. “The inference is that ‘you are blushing,’ hence, ‘you must have done something worth blushing about.’ The expectation to blush can become a self-fulfilling prophecy; the same is true of verbal feedback that blushing is in fact taking place,” Wittenborn states.