Contrary to popular belief, our emotions are not just in our metaphorical “heads”; each of our emotions has physical effects on our bodies.
Difficult emotions, such as pain, hearthbreak, and rejection, can also cause physical pain. Studies have show that social pain and physical pain can be treated and relieved in the same way by the same drugs, says psychologist Matthew Lieberman. According to Lieberman, taking Tylenol helped make feelings of heartache go away and also made the brain’s pain network less sensitive to the pain of rejection. So, if you bombed that public speaking event, Tylenol can help you recover from that too.
It seems that physical pain and social pain can both be treated through physical means - like medicine.
These findings prove that our body and emotions are intimately intertwined. The historical rejection of feelings as not real pain is inaccurate.
In fact, humans are designed to experience social pains physically as a survival tactic: a baby that experiences feelings of separation from its caretaker cries to send out an alert; we feel pain when verbally bullied because it makes us feel unwanted, which threatenes our connection to the group, a basic survival instinct.
1. If you experience a social trauma, take care of yourself like you would if you were physically ill.
2. Sticks and stones break bones, and words can really hurt too - so be kind.
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