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Rejection Degrades Thinking and Performance

Jul 23, 2008
Clear thinking is crucial for carrying on a conversation, making decisions, and practically everything we do. Thinking can be clouded by a host of conditions including stress, dehydration, and poor nutrition. Now, studies reveal that rejection and criticism have a significant influence on how well a person thinks.

In a series of experiments at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, participants were exposed to a series of situations that resulted in manufactured rejections. They were given before and after intelligence and analytical skill tests. The researchers were amazed to learn that the intelligence scores plummeted by 25% on average. Their analytical reasoning skills declined an average of 30%.

We are born with the fear of abandonment. As humans, one of the most powerful drives we have is to connect, and be accepted. When rejected, some people's self-esteem tends to become unstable. A person's self-esteem is forged in the first seven or eight years of life. Low self-esteem is fostered in an atmosphere of conditional love. It robs an individual of the psychological defenses needed to ward off the slings and arrows of life.

One of the most vital responsibilities of a parent is to cultivate a robust self-esteem in their children. It is unconditional love that nurtures healthy self-esteem. So equipped, an individual can brush aside the occasional rejection that is bound to occur.

During research at Montreal's McGill University, social psychologists found that people under stress tend to pay more attention to frowning faces than smiling faces. Like the Law of Attraction suggests, whatever you put your energy, focus, and attention on, you will attract more of. A person's depressed mood will filter out positive situations, and cause more focus on social threats like rejections and criticisms. These in turn will feed muddled thinking. This downward spiral can be reversed through intervention.

The McGill researchers tested telemarketers, a group that experiences a fair amount of rejection. Participants were exposed to a series of video games that exposed them to either smiling faces or flowers. After just one week, those who played the smile game had 17 percent less of the stress hormone cortisol in their system, and a 68 percent increase in sales!

Since emotions are linked to survival, they have neurological message priority. Simply stated, negative emotions can inhibit cognition, memory, and generally fracture human wholeness. In his book, Walsh outlines several methods people can employ to change their destructive patterns so that they focus more on positive stimuli.
About the Author
International speaker, Dr. Brian E. Walsh is the author of the bestseller Unleashing Your Brilliance and has also co-authored with John Gray and Jack Canfield the self-help book, 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 2. http://www.UnleashingBrilliance.com
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