Rejection can be fatalistic to emotional sensations. We hate being rejected socially, personally or professionally. But Rejection can have deeper impacts than mere psychological set back or hurt emotions.
Scientific researches have proved that brain identifies rejection equivalent to a physical pain.
Which means the way our brain reacts to a physical injury, ailment or illness, the same reaction it gives to a rejection.
- Rejection affects the same areas of the brain as that of physical injury- MRI studies have shown that neurologically, brain reacts in a very similar manner to rejection as it does for physical pain, hence rejection hurts so much.
- Social Rejection played a major role in our evolution- it is said that ostracism or being thrown out of your own clan was equal to death sentence because man as a social being could not survive for long. So it is assumed that brain learned to take rejection alerts as something very serious since then and this characteristic has evolved in human biology as an impact of social norm.
- Rejection is more painful because memory supports it- we are prone to rethink and relive the instances of rejection oftener than we do for a physical pain. Physical pain can be diluted with pain killers and medicines and doesn’t last long though the initial impact is high, but rejection has the same kind of impact on the brain while it doesn’t get cured easily. Our brain reminds us of the memories time and again.
- Rejection hurts our self-esteem- we lose confidence as an individual which can be shattering for personality development.
- When self-respect dissolves, the need to belong is gone- rejection affects our need to belong very badly. We all want to be a part of a group and acceptance will boost our survival, but rejection hurts that area and we cease to live; we may choose to end ourselves as well.
- Rejection causes anger- anger is too dangerous. It is not only an emotional state; it severely affects bodily health as well. When a person is too angry he can hurt himself or others. Anger can also cause chronic headache issues due to damage of brain tissues.
However, as rejection is treated as a medical cause by the body, it has its own treatment strategies.
When the body experiences physical pain, the brain releases chemical opioids into the empty space between neurons, which “dampens” pain signals.
Dr David T. Hsu of University of Michigan Medical School had carried out a research where people who are more resilient to social situations were studied.
However, people with depression and social anxiety may face a lack of this adaptability. It was observed “Individuals who scored high for the resiliency trait on a personality questionnaire tended to be capable of more opioid release during social rejection, especially in the amygdala,” which means that “opioid release in this structure during social rejection may be protective or adaptive,” said the doctor.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help reduce the emotional pain of rejection was proved by psychologists, which further proves that rejection as equal to physical pain hence it can be cured with pain-killer pills.
Hence the next time you feel that rejection hurts a lot, there is nothing to get worried, it is quite natural as per our biological processes.