Abolish Acne Anxiety With This Weird Theory Of Emotion

By Seppo | Members-only


You know the feeling, the uncomfortable jittery thing in your chest. You get it when you are outside and feel like people are looking at your skin. Sometimes when you even think about going out. Sometimes it’s so bad that you stop at the front door, close it and go back to your room. It’s called anxiety, and it comes with acne.

Luckily for you, experiments done by a renegade psychologist at the end of the 19th century turned the conventional wisdom on emotions upside down. And we can use these results to give anxiety a swift kick on the butt, freeing you to live your life.

All the credit for this post goes to Richard Wiseman and his latest book Rip It Up. I’m shamelessly borrowing from the book. And I highly recommend you buy and read the book.

Conventional view of emotions – upside down

In Rip It Up Wiseman argues that when it comes to emotions we’ve put the cart before the horse. Both common sense and conventional wisdom state that behavior follows emotion. That is, you feel anxious and that causes jittery behavior. Or that being happy causes you to smile.

This conventional wisdom also says that behavior follows thoughts. Following this many self-help books claim that you can improve yourself by thinking ‘better’ thoughts. Want to be confident? Just think positively about yourself.

Some people believe this conventional theory of emotion is upside down.


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About the Author

Seppo Puusa, a.k.a. AcneEinstein shares rational advice about natural and alternative acne treatments. Read more about me and my acne struggles at the page.

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(9) comments

Kim August 26, 2012

Hey Seppo,
Yes i am definitely going to try this amd the relaxation videosde me feel so calm!:) i think i will experiment and try to do the fake smiling for 21 day and hopefully ill get great results!:)
Thanks for sharing

    Seppo August 26, 2012

    Happy to help! Do let me know how it works for you. I know for sure it works ‘in the moment’, but I’m not yet sure if this can create a more permanent change. I believe it can when you condition your brain to react differently, but I haven’t seen any research on that and the book didn’t talk about long term effects.

Kim August 26, 2012

I also remember reading the way you go to sleep has an effect on the kind of mood you wake up in and the kind of dreams you have.. Say if you go to bed angry, you wake up in a bad mood and etc.. Id remember where i read it, but its interesting..
This blog came at the time i needed it the most.!:) i like the way you explain everything and the readons of why it will work!!
I have decided i want to try to be more positive, even though its not always easy to do! I still have a good bit to go
In learning more about being and finding good in situations, but i learned much from this blog and will read it often to remind myself! Lol thanks again

    Seppo August 26, 2012

    It’s plausible that your emotional state in the evening affects your dreams. Some say that dreams are the way the brain processes what happened during the day. Going beyond that I remain somewhat skeptical.

Sarah September 15, 2012

Hi, I was actually reading thelovevitamin and found your response. This actually make a lot of sense. I have terrible anxiety, mine is more related to speaking in front of people, social anxiety sometimes as well, and I have been trying to get rid of it the past few years. I was recently thinking back to a time when I did not have as much anxiety towards this, and I think back to one of my high school years where I all of a sudden had confidence. I know I didn’t actually feel more confident inside, but I just decided to be outgoing, thus I wasn’t as nervous after. Everyone kept saying wow you’re like a different person. However, the past few years it has gotten worse again, and all I can think is I’m more conditioned now to reacting in anxious way, so even if I pretend to act confident a lot of the time it will take much longer for my body to learn how to react in another way. Whereas in high school, I was younger and it was much easier to do that because I didn’t have years of anxiety to confront. Anyways, just wanted to share my little story. I believe this has a lot of truth, but I think if somebody has had anxiety for awhile, learning to fully relax will take awhile.
Thanks for the article : )

    Seppo September 17, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your story Sarah! Sorry about my late reply. I took most of the weekend away from my computer.

    I agree with you that making this change is not so easy, and that it takes some time. I think a lot of the time we’ve just conditioned the brain to respond in a certain way, as you mentioned. Good news here is that you can condition it to respond differently.

    In the book Prof. Wiseman talks about interpreting anxiety symptoms in your body differently. Instead of seeing them as cause for anxiety, try to think about them differently. For example, you could remind yourself that it’s just your brain responding to old, conditioned habits. Or that it’s your brain reminding you to look sharp and put your best foot forward. That approach has been more effective in anxiety patients than relaxation or anti-anxiety drugs.

    I really recommend you check out the book. This short post doesn’t really do justice for it.

Bella April 28, 2013

I find your website very much intriguing. I have a long story on my acne, but cutting it short, the last treatment I had being the anti-biotics has made it much much worse and out of control. that’s when I started researching online and now I only wish I had seen your website prior to trying the medication. before I talk about the above article, going through your website, I couldn’t find out how you helped your skin after becoming worse post anti-biotics? I just purchased the Exposed Skincare extended kit 2 days ago. I have also booked my homeopath Dr visit this week to check if I have some sort of gut infection…let me know what you think. These 2 initiatives have helped me reduce my anxiety a bit. But as you mentioned in your article above, I hesitate when I want to see friends, and even my boyfriend!! I argue more with him as I’m sensitive now about how he may see me and I find the smallest thing in his behaviour to relate it in my mind to my acne situation. I have been fed up with this for the past 2 years! And now that even the antibiotics which Drs had told me would help has not only turned me down but has made the situation worse!
one last thing, just like Sarah I’ve noticed during this time that I have anxiety when talking to more than 2 people at a time in public. I’m constantly thinking about my accent (+now my acne) and my brain keeps telling me that you are going to screw up with your accent kicking in. It’s caused me anxiety in my social life around people I know less. Do you suggest any books which may help me improving my self esteem and reducing anxiety in public?
I very much appreciate your informative articles. I have not found a single acne-related website on the net which is as good and fact-oriented as your. All the best :) -btw I did have a real smile on my face. I’ll fake the next one :)

    Seppo April 29, 2013

    Glad to hear that you like the site, Bella.

    To answer your question, I never experienced my skin getting worse after antibiotics. Perhaps I was lucky that way, or perhaps it’s because I’ve used antibiotics for acne only once or twice.

    What can you do in your situation? This is hard to say since, I imagine, there can be several reasons why your skin got worse after antibiotics. They can certainly have a negative effect on gut bacteria, but there can also be other reasons (at least I assume there are, but I don’t know for sure).

    If I were in your shoes I would try probiotic supplements or fermented foods. I would also follow the advice from this article: Is Your Acne Caused By Gut Issues? 3 Simple Ways To Know. Those tips can help you to figure out whether your gut is working fine or not.

    This blog, and my whole approach, is based on science and rational advice. If you ask me about homeopaths.. well.. you may not like my answer.

    The thing with homeopathy is that it’s based on utterly ridiculous principles. It’s NOT, as many people, believe some sort of natural or herbal medicine. It’s based on the idea that the more you dilute the medicine the stronger it gets. Common homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point that’s about the equivalent of dropping one drop of ‘active ingredient’ to the entire Pacific Ocean. It sounds ridiculous, but I’m not kidding about it. I’m not even going to get started on how they choose the ‘active ingredients’, a process that’s equally diluted of reason as their medicines are of active ingredients. It’s nothing but magic water.

    Of course it doesn’t matter how ridiculous something is if it works. But homeopathy has been tested countless times.. to the point where NIH has spent several million dollars on trials on homeopathy. Better quality studies invariably show homeopathy has no effect beyond placebo. The proponents of homeopathy will tell you many studies show it’s effective, but all the positive studies are low quality studies without proper controls. That means they are subject to bias and invariably produce false positive results – like similar studies done with prescrition drugs do.

    Of course the homeopath can offer you some sensible advice about diet, exercise, sleep and stress reduction, but I wouldn’t pay anything for homeopathic ‘remedies’.

    Another problem with most homeopaths and other alt-med practioners is that they almost ALWAYS find something wrong with you – even if there’s nothing wrong with you. Maybe he is correct with his diagnosis and maybe he’s not. The problem is you never know because the recommendations are not based on scientific evidence. They are based on anecdotes and personal experience. And those things are always subject to the myriad of biases and cognitive fallacies all humans suffer from.

    Anyway.. sorry about the rant.. the way many alternative medicine practitioners take advantage of people gets me really worked.


    What you can do about anxiety? That’s a difficult question that I have no good answer to. I really don’t understand well enough how the brain works in creating these emotions.

    I think partially it’s about habits. You habitually react to some situations with anxiety and stress. In such a case you need to teach your brain better habits. So when you find yourself being anxious use the techniques outlined in this post (also see this other post: Study Shows How To Breathe Yourself Happy). If you can get yourself in a more relaxed state then your brain should learn about it. So in time you might find that such situations don’t make you anxious anymore. That’s really the best I can say. More than that you have to talk to someone who is more familiar with these things.

Bella April 28, 2013

I forgot to mention that your above article was new to me and very very interesting. I will definately use it in many situations. It reminds me that just the last week I did have some sort of fake smile on my face (and in my head I thought am I acting rediculous) and being in a professional work environment like mine it could look stupid :) BUT although that day I had a tough time with my acne situation this helped my mind away and my day was a happy one!
Looking forward to see all your other articles. I’m still exploring your website.

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