how to recover, upsetting experience

Whether it be a bad breakup, a failed exam or finding out you didn’t get the job of your dreams, many of us have dealt with harsh and upsetting experiences. Although they may be hard on our hearts and our minds, we can’t forget that the necessary evil of rejection gives us an overall richer life experience. So, in order to ease the pain, the team here at Science of People has found 4 simple solutions to help you feel better!

1. Puppies

Who doesn’t love puppies and kittens?! Pretty much any baby animal can start to mend our hearts right away, and researchers have investigated this to see just how animals can help us feel better. Not only do animals have this amazing ability to sense our pain and comfort us, but just thinking about our pets may help us deal with social rejection.

how to recover, upsetting experience, puppy

A recent study determined that people who could name and think about pets presented in pictures reported lessened feelings of psychological distress and negative emotions after they were asked to relive past experiences of social rejection. If just thinking about your pet can help, imagine how great you’d feel spending time with them when you’re upset!

2. When in Doubt, Go Work Out

Researchers conducted a study to see how aerobic exercise could help participants manage and cope with their emotions after watching a sad movie. As it turns out, those who participated in 30 minutes of moderate exercise were better able to regulate their emotions after watching a sad film and were not as upset as those who did not exercise.

In real life, you may not always be prepared for a sad experience to happen, but regularly engaging in moderate exercise may help your brain recover faster when it does happen to you. Simply going for a brisk walk or practicing undemanding stretches, like yoga or Zumba, could help you feel better if something upsetting unexpectedly happens. Being active is not only good for your body, but does amazing things for your mind like helping you fight depression, giving you feel-good endorphins and keeping your brain sharp!

3. Eat a Snack

When you’re upset, it is super important to remember to grab a snack before you make any rash or impulsive decisions. What does eating have to do with being upset? It can save you from doing something you’ll regret. When you’re hungry, your stomach produces the hormone ghrelin — the hormone responsible for increasing your appetite and consequently the hormone that has a negative effect on decision making and impulse control. Therefore, being both upset and hungry could be a potentially devastating combination to the situation at hand… Upgry? Hunset? The next time you find yourself upset and about to make a huge decision, go grab a snack first, then come back and reevaluate if it’s really a good idea to follow through with. 

how to recover, upsetting experience, food

4. Grab a Drink

Back in college, there was a common expression my peers would throw around before a big exam or rival football game: “no matter what happens, we’ll drink to remember or drink to forget.” Studies show that alcohol can cause a temporary increase in happiness. This may be the reason why some people go out for a drink or two when dealing with a difficult situation.

Important Note: The boosted happiness in this study was very temporary and did not lead to increased life satisfaction. In fact, prolonged drinking led to reduced feelings of wellbeing. So next time you’re dealing with rejection or heartbreak, try throwing a wine night with your girlfriends or meet your coworkers for a couple drinks at the bar and then seek more healthy and positive resources for recovery.

5. Manage Your Moods

There are also pretty easy ways to change your moods based on your actions. Here’s how I Snap Out of a Funk–overview below:

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and human behavioral investigator in our lab.

You may also like...

As Seen In