There are two interesting things that happen to us very often, but we take little notice of them, and possibly, never bother to find out anything about them. These two small but interesting events are “turning white in the face” and “blushing”.
People seldom bother to find out why these things happen. We know that under normal circumstances, when we are relaxed, our heartbeat is between sixty and ninety beats per minute, varying from person to person. When we exert ourselves, the rate changes and our heart beats faster. This is because certain muscles of our body have to do more work and be more efficient, so more blood is needed in these muscles. The brain receives a message to transfer as much blood as possible to these muscles.
When we are frightened, the brain receives a message to transfer blood from certain parts of our body, such as our face, to the muscles of our limbs. This will prepare the limbs to run from the source of our fear or fright. Hence, our face turns pale.
When we blush, we go red in the cheeks and neck. This happens when a sudden emotion, such as embarrassment, a sense of shame or pleasure, occurs. When this happens, tiny blood vessels just below the surface of the skin dilate. As these blood vessels are full of blood, they are more visible on the face and neck since the skin in these areas is thinner. Hence, the skin looks red. When this happens, people begin to feel hot and uncomfortable, and they begin to fidget.
Young people tend to blush more easily than the old. This is because as we grow older, we become more experienced with the ways of life, and are able to handle situations better without being embarrassed by what is said or done. In other words, as the young learn to cope with sudden emotions, they blush less often.
While turning white in the face is a signal that the body is preparing for flight from the source of apparent danger, turning red is a sign that a person is not well equipped to cope with certain emotions.
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