If you have a minute...focus on the right face.
We all know the best thing to do when we're down: Talk, laugh (or bawl) it out with the person we love most. But until that happens, just looking at a photo of this person can activate natural painkillers in the brain, along with oxytocin and serotonin, both of which are associated with trust, well-being and calmness. Compared with viewing a headshot of a mere acquaintance, this exercise can relieve moderate pain by about 40 percent, found neuroscientists at Stanford University.
If you have 15 minutes...pick up a pen.
In an increasingly popular technique called self-affirmation, you write two paragraphs about the one thing that you value the most about yourself (your originality, spiritual or political values, anything) and explain why it matters in your life and how it shows up in what you do. When volunteers at Canada's University of Victoria wrote out these explanations, they became more rejection-resistant for at least eight weeks. Why? By crystallizing who they were and the resources they had, their emotional core remained intact...so they stopped broadcasting anxious and avoidant vibes. Which reduced their chances of getting rejected in the first place.
...And if you have five extra minutes, describe your kitty or BFF, too.
Because when volunteers (primed to feel snubbed) at Miami University had five minutes to explain on paper what they adored about their cat, dog or best buddy, their self-esteem bounced right back, unlike the control group. (Option: write about your closest friend, which has been shown to be equally effective in recovery.) Though some might argue that the distinction between the two subjects—pet and pals—is nonexistent.
Next: The thing that can compensate for the "coldness" of rejection