We all know the feeling: the heart races, the face flushes, and a wave of warmth washes over us. We might even feel a bit lightheaded. We might even feel a bit lightheaded. This is the physiological response we call blushing, and it’s often triggered by feelings of embarrassment, shame, or self-consciousness.
Most of us have experienced blushing at one time or another. And while it might be a bit embarrassing in the moment, it’s actually a very normal and common response. In fact, blushing is so universal that it’s been called “the human universal.”
So why do we blush?
There are a few theories. One popular theory is that blushing is a way of diffusing a potentially embarrassing or dangerous situation. By making ourselves more visible, we might be more likely to avoid a dangerous or embarrassing encounter.
Another theory is that blushing is a way of signaling our submission or contrition. By making ourselves more vulnerable, we’re essentially saying “I’m sorry” or “I take responsibility for my actions.”
Whatever the reason, blushing is a very real and very common response to embarrassment, shame, or self-consciousness. And while it might be a bit embarrassing in the moment, it’s actually a very normal and human response.