Recent research shows that social pain caused due to pandemics ends up with the activation of specific components in physical pain systems and might lead to stress. 

“In the psychological literature, the term ‘social pain’ has been used mostly to refer to reactions to losses of relationship through rejection, abandonment, death, moving away, or whatever, but there’s no doubt that merely lacking regular contact with people who value their relationships with us creates negative emotions involving sadness and loneliness as well.” -Mark Leary, Ph.D., Professor at Duke University.

What Is Social Pain?

Social pain is an experience of painful emotions caused due to the loss of their loved one or rejection from a social group, stress due to social distancing, and getting bullied. 

Leary defines that “Typically, we think of ‘pain’ being caused by physical events — breaking an arm, stepping on broken glass, getting stung by a bee — but purely interpersonal events can hurt as much as physical experiences.” 

These include the most painful grief when their loved one dies or gets rejected by their loved ones. Leary said, “Imagine how we would act if people were not at all concerned with other people ignoring, rejecting, and abandoning them. We’d have trouble maintaining friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, and other important relationships, seriously undermining the quality of our lives.”

With the feelings of social pain increasing, the following ways can help you to get over them. 

  • Try to Manage Your Thoughts

The first step is to know that if your pain is real. We humans always think about everything from a social perspective ( Eg. what people will think about you and like being judged by others). Make sure to overcome this kind of thought. 

  • Feed Your Senses

Both physical pain and social pain respond well to sensory feelings. Make sure to feed your brain and your body. Take a rest whenever you get the time and explore little things everywhere.  

  • Find Ways to Connect with Others

Always find ways to connect with people and, if possible, prioritize with people who value you the most. 

  • Engage in “Social Snacking” 

Just as people eat a snack when they are hungry, make sure to do social snacking when you cannot talk or interact with people you love the most. Looking at old memories and merely thinking about them can reduce social pain.

  • Get Help from a Professional

If you can’t find relief from the ways mentioned above, please reach out to the professionals and seek help.