What We Can All Learn From Chrissy Teigen's Super Bowl Nipplegate

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Apparently, at some point during this weekend's Lady Gaga concert there was a Super Bowl. And Chrissy Teigen attended the event with her husband, John Legend, and all seemed well (albeit hilariously uninteresting). But during the game, a fan who had seen Teigen on TV tweeted to let her know that her nipple was visible. No, she didn't get flustered as any of us mortals would have. Instead, in a move we've come to expect from her, Teigen laughed it off with a tweet and a video.

So is Teigen just superhuman? Or is there a way the rest of us can learn to live through a potentially embarrassing moment without giving in to the urge to run away and hide under a parka for the rest of the night?

Before we get too deep, let's acknowledge how intense those feelings of embarrassment can really be — seriously, in addition to making you blush and your palms sweaty, shame increases activation in parts of your brain associated with physical pain. All of that comes from a very deep need to feel like you belong, according to evolutionary psychologists. In the days of our genetic ancestors, messing up could have meant being cast out from your group (i.e. certain death). Today the potential effects aren't quite that lethal, but they can definitely still feel like it. The effects of shame are so strong, we even feel it when watching our friends (or favorite TV characters) mess up.

The good news is that some researchers believe that outwardly showing our embarrassment (through the aforementioned blushing and sweaty palms) signals to others that you know you effed up, you didn't mean any actual harm, and you would very much like to stick around. Still, that doesn't mean it doesn't feel like shit.

However, if we, like Chrissy, can find a way to laugh at ourselves and the situation, we're much better off. That’s because the key to getting over embarrassment is to confront it head on. I know, I know, that’s much easier said than done when every cell in your body wants nothing more than to dissolve into a puddle of imperceptible goo (well, run away and then dissolve).

But according to a recent study in Qualitative Research In Psychology, avoiding or ignoring those feelings of awkwardness just makes them more and more intense. So acknowledging whatever dumb thing you did directly is a better strategy for making the thing go away as quickly as possible. One obvious way to do that is to laugh at yourself. And that has the added benefit of making you feel like part of the crew again. After all, as Lifehacker points out, if you're laughing with everyone else, then they're not laughing at you.

So how can you train yourself to get there? Start with the past tense, Psych Central recommends: Think about embarrassing moments from your past and, with the help of a listening friend, turn them into cocktail party stories. Eventually, you'll get so comfortable with the idea of "It'll make a great story later!" that you can expedite the process and start laughing a lot earlier on.

Maybe we'll never make it to Teigen-level self-aware chill, but we can certainly try. And fail. And laugh.

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