Psychology explains the main reason rejection hurts so much

Posted on May 18, 2017


Humans are inherently social animals. And because of the evolutionary benefits that come with social acceptance - protection from predators, help in acquiring food, assistance with raising children - it all comes down to the way our brains are hardwired to deal with such matters as rejection.

So why does rejection hurt so much? Turns out, rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.

In a recent study, according to Business Insider, researchers gathered 40 participants who had recently gone through an unwanted breakup and put them in an MRI scanner. When shown photos of their exes and told to think about being rejected, the participants' brains lit up in the same regions that are activated by sensory pain.

Such results give new meaning to the idea that rejection "hurts" - not just emotionally, but also physically, literally. Some research suggests that rejection can thus be treated the same way as physical pain with painkillers to reduce painful feelings.

But self-medicating may not be the best treatment for the long run. In terms of dealing with rejection, experts recommend a few strategies:

1. Know your chances of being successful. If you apply to a very competitive job and don't get it, don't get discouraged.

2. Pursue several opportunities at once to decrease your chances of rejection. For example, ask out many dates and, odds are, at least one of them will work out.

3. Finally, don't take it personally - rejection is not always a reflection of you, but of the external circumstances and factors beyond your control.

Category(s):Ending a relationship issues, Self-Care / Self Compassion

Source material from Business Insider

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