Cortisol is released by the body in response to stress, and is involved in the body’s “fight or flight” response. Studies have shown that social exclusion or rejection can trigger the release of cortisol, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
When we feel ignored, it can trigger a similar response in the body as social exclusion or rejection. Being ignored can make us feel unimportant, invalidated, or dismissed, and this can create a sense of stress or anxiety.
One study published in the journal Psychological Science found that participants who were excluded from a virtual ball-tossing game showed higher levels of cortisol than those who were included in the game. Another study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that being socially excluded in a laboratory setting was associated with increased cortisol levels.
While cortisol can be helpful in certain situations, chronic or prolonged elevation of cortisol levels can have negative health effects, including increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other health problems.
It’s important to note that everyone responds differently to being ignored, and some people may be more resilient to its effects than others. However, it’s clear that feeling ignored can create a physiological response in the body, and it’s important to be aware of these effects and take steps to manage stress when necessary.
Our social connections (or lack thereof) can affect cortisol levels. Read about that here.