Social Rejection Can Cause Physical Pain

An interesting article today from Yahoo Health entitled “Social Rejection Can Cause Physical Pain” which talks about an experiment of people experiencing actual physical pain as the result of rejection.  Here’s some really good advice noted in the article:

To recover from that pain, it’s best to rely on healthy coping skills that allow you to better relate to people or avoid those you can’t seem to get along with, says psychologist Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, director of the Life Management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, and a Rodale.com advisor. “Don’t give up trying to connect with others and try not to be hard on yourself. Learn what you can from your experience.”
Here are some ways to cope with social rejection—or avoid it in the first place:
Don’t take it personally. There is some logic to that old standby, “It’s not you, it’s me.” There are a lot of reasons why relationships end, or never get going in the first place, says Rossman, and often it has nothing to do with you. “A boyfriend may be afraid of making a long-term commitment for reasons that are entirely about him,” he says. “His ending the relationship may be because he’s not ready for the kind of committed relationship you are wanting and ready for.” And the same holds true when you try to make friends with people who seem uninterested in becoming your friend. If you’ve tried to befriend a coworker or neighbor who continually rejects your efforts, move on. “You can’t be friends with everyone, but you can be friends with a few people you are compatible with,” Rossman adds.
Look inward. That being said, sometimes it is you. Rossman notes that there are certain personality types that are more susceptible to rejection than others. They usually fall into the “Type D” group, “d” meaning “distressed.” These people are usually more prone to worry, irritability, and gloom, and they’re more socially inhibited than others. Also, “they tend to not share these emotions with others, because of fear of rejection or disapproval,” Rossman adds. If you fall into this group, try to spend time with current friends who are more outgoing. Their social ease may make it easier for you to develop new relationships
Research shows: Be true to yourself and you’ll be happier with others.
Find self-esteem boosters. One of the best ways to protect yourself against the painful effects of rejection is to improve your self-esteem, says Rossman. You can always exercise, which has been found to boost body image and self-esteem. Another way to boost your self-esteem is to find a hobby or activity that makes you feel good about yourself, whether it’s volunteering at a nearby animal shelter or taking an art class at the local community center.
Know the warning signs. DeWall notes in his study that negative and painful reactions to social rejection could lead to aggressive or antisocial behavior. Even if you don’t feel like you’re in pain every time you get rejected, Rossman says there are a few warning signs that might indicate that you’re handling it badly:

1. You find yourself withdrawing from people and forgoing activities you have enjoyed for fear of rejection.

2. You expect rejection and then feel resentful of other people.

3. You end relationships in order to reject others before they can reject you.

4. You provoke conflicts in order to find a reason to end a relationship.

5. You turn to unhealthy behaviors to help you soothe your hurt feelings, such as excessive emotional eating or drinking, drug use, or overspending.

A friend of mine was very successful in the life insurance sales game.  When asked why he was the most successful sales person for a major life insurance company, he said this: ”  Most people put in 8 hours filled with rejection.  Then they quit.  I knew I was going to get 8 hours of rejection, so I figured I’d work 10 so the last two would be productive.”  Everyone (in his business) has a certain amount of rejection that s/he must endure daily, then you get the payoff.  Rejection can either build you up, or tear you down.  It’s really your choice as to who is boss of your limbic system.


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