We have learned through research studies with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) equipment that the emotional pain of rejection and exclusion activates the same area of the brain that is activated during physical pain. This is what happens: someone feels excluded and immediately brain activity occurs in the dorsal portion of the anterior cingulate cortex. This is the part of the brain that involves the suffering component of pain. This is why it hurts so bad to be ignored, excluded, and rejected. Our brains perceive this as physical pain. IT IS REAL!
The research also shows that the use of a pain reliever such as Tylenol can help reduce this emotional pain. Of course, this doesn’t stop us from perservating on these situations where we feel excluded and in turn causing more pain. We need to address the whole person and not just mask the symptoms of the pain (but it helps us understand why people get addicted to pain medications).
Research studies have also helped us understand that chronic pain leads to depression and chronic feelings of rejection such as being bullied can also lead to depression. What we need to do is develop empathy for others and never intend to make another person feel rejected, excluded, or ignored. So, go out there today and really show you care about others!