The Science Behind Why Being Ignored Can Increase Cortisol Levels

Have you ever felt ignored by someone and noticed your stress levels increasing as a result? It turns out, there is scientific evidence to suggest that being ignored can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

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.

Research has found that being ignored can have similar effects on the body as social exclusion or rejection. A 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.

So why does being ignored create a stress response in the body? When we feel ignored, it can trigger feelings of insignificance, invalidation, and dismissal. These feelings can create a sense of stress or anxiety in the body, leading to an increase in 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 be aware of the physiological effects of being ignored and take steps to manage stress when necessary. This can include practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga, seeking support from friends or a therapist, or engaging in activities that help you feel valued and connected.

In conclusion, being ignored can have real and significant effects on the body, and it’s important to take steps to manage stress when necessary. By practicing self-care and seeking support when needed, you can help minimize the negative effects of being ignored and maintain your emotional and physical well-being.