Guardians of the Galaxy star David Bautista loves to sport colored sunglasses on the red carpet. However, as he told Men’s Health, his choice of eyewear is not just for fashion’s sake: The actor, who suffers from anxiety, called his glasses a “pacifier, a therapeutic thing.”
“When I was a kid, you could barely get two words out of me,” Bautista told the outlet. “I was just such an introvert, and I was attached to my mom’s leg.”
So, how common is Bautista’s choice to wear colored sunglasses in order to ease his anxiety?
Psychologist Claire Plumbly says, “People with anxiety disorders have typically developed coping methods. Most commonly they will try to avoid the situation, but if that’s not possible they will have other methods for getting through the triggering situation as safely as possible. These are called ‘safety behaviors.’”
She notes that such safety behaviors can include avoiding eye contact, rehearsing what one will say, smoking, wearing a hoodie with the hood up, or, as in the case of Bautista, donning sunglasses.
Gregory Scott Brown, M.D., explains that the specific sunglasses that Bautista wears, with a colored lens, might be particularly helpful for the actor.
“I'm not aware of research that definitely suggests sunglasses can help with anxiety, but it is an area that researchers are actively looking into,” he notes. “Some of this research is looking into ‘chromotherapy glasses.’ For instance, there's been some research about rose-tinted glasses and their effects on how we respond to emotional events.”
Brown is also a fan of “grounding objects,” which can curb anxiety during high-stress events. In addition to the potential calming factor of the lenses, Bautista says having an object to focus on — in this case, the glasses — may help ease anxiety.
‘When we're in a state of anxiety or panic, it can feel like we're losing control of our body and our mind,” he explains. “A grounding object can be anything, a stone you hold in your pocket, a bracelet, a ring. Something for you to hold onto and bring yourself back to earth in a sense.”
Overall, Brown says that Bautista's glasses might “turn down the volume of the external ‘visual noise’ and perhaps that puts him in a more peaceful internal state.”
“When I'm anxious, I like nothing more than to get a nice yoga session in a dimly lit room, so I get it,” he adds. “If sunglasses help Bautista on the red carpet, I say keep wearing them.”