Let’s Talk About… Rejection

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Jeremy Godwin, host of Let’s Talk About Mental Health (source)

I am no stranger to the feeling of rejection. Whether it be for a job or opportunity I applied for and was turned down from, a date that resulted in being friend zoned, or a text that went unacknowledged. I could go on and on about other moments of rejection in my life, but instead, I want to share a podcast episode I came across after looking for one specifically on this topic. Wondering why I was searching for information on rejection? Well, for one, it’s an uncomfortable feeling that I’m sure we all have experienced and don’t spend much time talking about. Secondly, one thing I know for certain is that we humans are social beings. We seek connection and a sense of belonging. When those needs are met with being rejected, left out, or unaccepted, it can leave us feeling deeply hurt. I know this because not only have I experienced it, but I’m sure it has been felt by many in the wake of the pandemic and the social isolation we experienced, or that was heightened for others. In this post, I will share some notes from the episode Let’s Talk About… Rejection with Jeremy Godwin, host of the Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast. In this episode he shares a definition for what rejection is, why understanding its impact matters for good mental health, and how to deal with it.

What is Rejection?

  • Rejection is when another person avoids or ignores you
  • Related to words such as: abandonment, exclusion, shunning, desertion
  • Examples:
    • Being pushed away based on personal aspects that another person doesn’t like or agree with
    • Someone you’ve dated deciding not to see you again
    • A friend deciding the friendship has run its course
    • A family member not agreeing with who you are
    • A work colleague excluding you
    • A million and one other scenarios . . .
  • Goes against our instinctive desire to belong, feel seen, valued, and respected as a human being
  • Can follow a major argument or can come out of nowhere
  • Results in confusion, anger, hurt, sadness, self-doubt
  • Rejection is painful and can activate insecurities, doubts and deepest fears
expressive multiethnic couple having conflict on street

Understanding the Impact of Rejection Matters

“As far as your brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different than a broken arm.”

Naomi Eisenberger, PhD
  • People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections
  • Rejection can cause emotional and cognitive consequences
    • Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, sadness
    • Reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks and can contribute to aggression and poor impulse control
  • Identifying what you’re feeling and taking action is essential
  • The pain of rejection is felt because we are hardwired to want to belong
  • See rejection as a sign that something needs to change, whether you want it to or not
  • Only you have control over what you do, say, feel and what happens next
  • Learn from rejection in order to grow

How to Deal with Feelings of Rejection

  • Feel What You Need to Feel
    • Strong feelings of rejection or sadness happen to us because we care
      • For example, an emotional connection such an intimate or family relationship, or,
      • Wanting approval at work or maintaining a reputation
    • Feelings and thoughts are not facts, but reflections of our emotional state and if our needs are being met (e.g., the need to be accepted)
    • There is no right or wrong when it comes to your emotions, and how you feel is how you feel
    • The only way through it is through it
    • Process and work through your feelings (e.g., with a counsellor or therapist)
crop ethnic psychologist writing on clipboard during session
  • Remind Yourself It’s Not Personal
    • Hard to do when it feels personal
    • When someone rejects you it is about them and their choices
      • For example, the other person is fearful about a relationship moving too quickly and they’re not ready for that, or,
      • A family member set in their ways and not willing to accept others as they are
  • You May Never Know Why
    • Rejection can come with no warning or a surface level explanation
    • Closure is not a given
  • Healthy and Positive Relationships
    • Spending time with people you have healthy and positive connections with can lift mood
    • Positive social interactions can release opioids which give you a natural mood boost, such as with exercise
    • Seek healthy relationships or lean into the ones you already have
      • Take time for yourself and spend it with supportive people
  • Journaling
    • Can help to get emotions out
photo of person holding cup

Sometimes rejection in life is redirection.

Affirmations for Moving On by Ashley Diana

Rejection hurts, but it doesn’t define me.

I’m OK with rejection. It means I took a chance. I took a risk. I stood up for myself.

Rejection simply means that that thing is no longer meant for me.

I’m OK with being led in a different direction.

I happily accept that they were the wrong direction.

Source: Reframing Rejection: Affirmations for Moving On! Don’t Let Rejection Keep You Down

Let’s get comfortable talking about rejection.

What are some ways you have dealt with rejection?

Share them in the comments.



This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

A Gratitude Exercise

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Danielle LaPorte (Canadian author)

“Appreciation is a form of wellness. It’s also what keeps us moving through difficult times and what brings us back to love, time and again. More importantly, when we tie our gratitude to the ‘why’ of it, we develop new forms of appreciation and depths of connection for living.” (Commune)

Gratitude, Appreciation & Connection 

Photo by Created Stories
  • Consciously focusing on our blessings have emotional and interpersonal benefit
  • Appreciation is a form of wellness
  • “ I am grateful…. because.…”
    • Being specific increases the sensation of appreciation; gives you access to more positive, life affirming feelings
    • Allows you to go deeper into the meaning behind the circumstances and people in your life you are thankful for
    • Expands your awareness of gratitude; illuminating the positive feelings

5 Gratitude Life Areas

  • Livelihood + Lifestyle: career, work, money, home, possessions, fashion, travel
  • Body + Wellness: fitness, food, relaxation, healing modalities, mental health, sex, sensuality
  • Creativity + Learning: culture, creative expression, education, interests, hobbies
  • Relationships + Society: romantic relationships, partnership, friendships, family, children, community, social causes
  • Essence + Spirituality: soul, inner self, faith, devotional practices 

What are you grateful for?


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Self-Care is Never Selfish

Health & Lifestyle

“When you put your needs last, you’re like a plant without water that’s worried about providing enough shade for others.”

– Alexis Jones (activist and motivational speaker)

I’m sure we’ve all heard these words before: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. In other words, if you aren’t taking good care of yourself, you can’t effectively take care of others. It’s so important that you find the time for self-care and attention.

Here are 7 ways you can practice self-care:

Stay Nourished 🥗

They say you are what you eat. Care for your body by fueling it with healthy and nourishing meals and snacks. Be mindful of certain foods that don’t make you feel good and consider eliminating them from your diet. Especially during warmer weather, remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day and everyday.

Learn more: Brain-Gut Connection / 7 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Sleep Well 💤

This is not only about how many hours of sleep you get, but also about the quality of your sleep. You work hard throughout the day, so take the time needed to restore. While it’s ideal to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, make sure you feel comfortable while you are and that you’re waking up feeling well-rested.

Learn more: Sleep & Stress Management / How to Sleep for Peak Mental Performance

Get and Stay Active 💪

Physical activity is great for your body and mind. Your brain releases endorphins, a feel-good brain chemical that helps to reduce stress. You deserve to feel good! Plus, it boosts your energy, immune system and improves sleep. So, strap on your running shoes. A nice 30-minute walk is all it takes.

Connect with Others 📞

Whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague, connect and spend time with people you know and trust. Know when to ask for help when you need it. That is a form of self-care.

Take a Pause

Stop, slow down, and make time for pause. Listen to calming music, journal, pray, meditate, go for a walk in nature, take a few deep breaths or stretch. Taking a pause is a great way to pace yourself and reset.

Learn more: Meditation Tools & Tips

Be Kind to Yourself 🥰

Never be so hard on yourself! Embrace yourself fully – all your mistakes and accomplishments. We are human after all. Know that you are doing the best you can. Try this: Look in the mirror and say something kind to yourself each day.

Stay Committed 📆

Build a self-care routine and try your very best to stay committed to it. Without a doubt, the demands of life can be stressful. Now more than ever, remember to first fill up your own cup. Find what feels good to you, stick to it, and keep going!

Learn more: Your Mental Health Matters: Extra Brain-Love During Times of Stress

What are other ways you practice self-care? Share them in the comments section! 👇

Subscribe to receive articles straight to your inbox. It’s totally free!


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Stress & Stressors


Learning how to cope with stress is an important part of development.” – Center on the Developing Child

How much do you already know about stress?

Did you know that there are three types of stress and different types of stressors?

Keep reading to learn more.

Stress & Self-Reg’s 5 Domains of Stressors

Now that we understand how our body responds to stress (see: What is Self-Regulation?), let’s look at what stress is and what stressors are, defined by Dr. Stuart Shanker, Founder and Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre:

Stress: anything that requires our internal system to burn energy in order to maintain some sort of internal balance.

Stressors: an event or experience that triggers stress.

Dr. Stuart Shanker identifies stressors across 5 domains:

While the examples of stressors provided from the links below have been tailored to children and their learning, many of them are stressors that adults can relate to having as well. (Visit: Stressors in the 5 Domains of Self-Reg for a list of more examples to the ones provided below)

The Biological Domain
  • Biological: Internal or external stressors that affect our physiological system
    • e.g., hunger, feeling sick, a loud noise, screen time
  • Emotion: Stressors related to strong emotions, both positive and negative
    • e.g., fears, change of routine, excitement, grief/loss
  • Cognitive: Stressors related to difficulty processing certain information
    • e.g., time pressure, learning something new, boredom, multi-tasking
  • Social: Social stressors, related to social cues and the behaviour of self and others
    • e.g., social media, peer pressure, confrontation, meeting someone new
  • Prosocial: Stressors related to difficulty coping with the stress of others
    • e.g., empathy/sympathy, a sad friend, watching the news, injustice

The 3 Types of Stress

  • Positive: A stressor that is moderate and short-lived, resulting in brief increases in heart rate and blood pressure. This kind of stress is normal, essential to healthy development and is buffered by protective factors such as a positive support system made up of family, friends and/or healthy lifestyle practices.
    • e.g., The first day on the job/of school, meeting new people, dealing with frustration, giving a presentation
  • Tolerable: A more sereve stressor that could have long-term consequences but is buffered by protective factors such as a positive support system and healthy lifestyle practices.
    • e.g., Dealing with the illness or loss of a loved one, recovering from an injury, adjusting to a global pandemic
  • Toxic: A threatening and adverse stressor that results in frequent and prolonged activation of the stress response system. These types of stressors lack the presence of protective factors such as a support system.
    • e.g., Experiencing abuse or exposure to violence, extreme poverty, turbulent living situations

These types of stress are especially important to be mindful of for young children and teens. This is because their brain’s are in the process of development and don’t fully develop until their mid-20s (particularly the prefrontal cortex – the thinking part of the brain), and because their health and well-being are dependant on protective factors such as the care and support of the adults in their lives. These adults are also the ones that help them to self-regulate and develop the healthy lifestyle practices that they will carry with them throughout adulthood.

Dealing with Stress

As with any type of stress (mainly positive and tolerable), having protective factors such as a buffer (caring and supporting people in your life to help you manage the stress and recover from it) is one of the greatest ways to deal with stress. When there is a lack of a buffer, defense mechanisms or poor and harmful coping strategies may ensue.

A young child with great stress and no buffer could experience impairments to brain development (detrimental at a time when their brain is developing; see: Brain Development in the Early Years). As a result, this child may have difficultly with:

  • Self-regulation: managing stress and different stressors
  • Engaging in social interactions
  • Forming relationships with others
  • Identifying, expressing and managing their emotions
    • They may be easily triggered and reactive or subdued and withdraw (fight, fight, freeze responses)
  • Developing healthy coping strategies; potentially resulting in maladaptive behaviours

Long-Term Effects of Stress on the Body

Since our nervous system plays a role in our stress response, too much stress over a long period of time is harmful to our brain and body. Prolonged activation of our body’s stress response system can:

How Stress Affects Your Body
  • Impact the cardiovascular system, especially if the body is constantly pumping oxygen to the heart and releasing adrenaline when under a lot of stress
  • Elevate blood pressure, which can impact the heart
  • Affect metabolism since glucose pumps into the bloodstream giving you a burst of energy, chronic activation can result in metabolic problems
  • Cause hormonal imbalances
  • Lead to gut and digestive challenges (see: Brain-Gut Connection)
  • Impact mental health
  • Increase vulnerability to cold and illnesses (since our immune system is vulnerable to stress)

While these are only some of the impacts of stress, my hope is that with this understanding you may be better able to recognize the different types of stress that you may be experiencing, identify the particular stressors that are impacting you the most, and be able to develop strategies and daily practices that work to help you manage them effectively.

Explore the Health & Lifestyle sections throughout this website for ways to take care of your overall health and well-being. Here are a few of the many topics available:

5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Self-Care is Not Selfish

Mindfulness & Meditation. What’s the Difference?

The Brain-Gut Connection

The stress that anyone experiences and how they manage it is different per person. Please practice care and compassion for yourself and those in need.

See More on Stress and Stressors (below) for additional resources.

This is solely provided for informational purposes. If you are concerned about your health, that of a child or someone you know, I encourage you to take care of yourself and seek professional support (if needed).

More on Stress and Stressors

Visit: Self-Reg: Stressors in the 5 Domains

Visit: Self-Reg: Recognize Stressors

Visit: Self-Reg in 60 Seconds with Dr. Stuart Shanker

Got questions? Contact Me

What is Stress?

The Brain Architects Podcast: Toxic Stress: Protecting the Foundation


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Health & Lifestyle

Here are 5 simple things you can start today to boost your immune system!

  1. Reduce Stress

Stress and our immune system do not get along. When we are under stress, our immune system is weakened, making us more vulnerable and likely of getting sick. For example, it is common to get sick around the time of travel. Whether it’s the stress of preparing or the climate change, our immune system might take a hit. Reduce stress by finding time to take care of yourself, such as any of the following ways below.

Photo by Pexels
  1. Socialize (while practicing social distancing)

Humans are social beings. Plus, strong emotions such as fear and loneliness are stressful, especially during these times. As mentioned above, stress weakens the immune system. So, find joy in talking and connecting with your loved ones – your family, friends and even pets! Check in on colleagues and see how they’re doing.

  1. Sleep

Sleep is the time when our body repairs itself. We spend so many hours of the day awake and moving about that we need to give our brain and body the time it requires for rest. Not clocking in enough hours leaves us at a greater risk of getting sick because our vital organs are not recovering. According to the Chinese Body Clock, there are certain hours of the day that our vital organs are at peak functionality. For example, our liver cleanses and recovers between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. However, this can vary by person.

  1. Exercise

When we exercise, we release a “feel good” chemical in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins boost our mood and in return reduces stress. In addition, it increases alertness, focus and concentration. Working out or going for a short walk is all it takes!

  1. Eat Healthy

Our body responds to everything we eat. When we eat well, we feel good, and when we don’t, we tend to feel sluggish and tired. It’s important to ensure you’re getting the vitamins, nutrients and even antioxidants that help to build and sustain a well-functioning immune system. Consuming foods high in Vitamin A, Bs, C, E & Zinc such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and seeds contribute to strengthening the immune system.


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Attachment Styles

Early Childhood

A lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” – John Bowlby

Humans are social beings. From the moment we are born, we enter a world filled with people. Babies make sense of their world through the relationships and interactions they have with their primary caregivers. This is how an attachment is formed and generally this takes place within the first year of life. An attachment is an emotional bond with another person. It can be formed with a child, parent, friend, teacher or student.

Attachment Theory.

At the heart of evolutionary theory of attachment is a psychiatrist by the name of John Bowlby. His work at a clinic in the 1930s with children who were emotionally disturbed led him to explore the importance of the mother-child relationship in children’s earliest stages of development. Bowlby noticed that children showed great distress when separated from their mothers and that they represented a source of security for the child to explore and engage with the world. He suggested that this mother-child relationship sets the template for which children will view future social relationships they encounter later in life. He believed the window for attachment to develop is from birth to 5 years of age and if an attachment is not established within this time, there are consequences to a child’s development (McLeod, 2017).

Attachment Styles.

At the heart of attachment styles is a psychologist by the name of Mary Ainsworth. She was interested in investigating the varying styles of attachment among children. Ainsworth devised an experimental study in the 1970s called the Strange Situation which observed the interaction between a mother and child in a room, the behaviour and reaction of the child when a stranger entered the room, when the mother left the child with the stranger and then when she returned. The results from the study yielded three main attachment styles among 1 to 2-year-old babies:

Secure – The attachment figure is a safe base (a source of safety, security and comfort) for the child to freely explore and in times of distress. When a child feels a sense of safety and security they will feel comfortable with exploring and interacting with their environment. The child is easily soothed when the mother leaves the room and returns. The attachment figure is overall available, caring, attuned, consistent and responsive to the child’s needs (McLeod, 2018).

Insecure-Avoidant – The child is physically and emotionally independent of the attachment figure. The attachment figure is not sought out by the child during distress when the mother leaves the room and returns. The attachment figure is likely unavailable, insensitive and rejecting of the child’s needs (McLeod, 2018).

Insecure Ambivalent/Resistant – The child displays clingy, dependent behaviour towards their attachment figure. The child does not feel a sense of security from their attachment figure and is hard to soothe and feel comforted when in distress. The attachment figure is considered inconsistency in their responsiveness to the child’s needs (McLeod, 2018).  

The level of sensitivity and responsiveness that a caregiver displays plays a role in the type of attachment style a child will develop and the way in which the child will view themselves and their worth as they grow older and into an adult. Children who have a secure attachment may likely develop a positive outlook, seeing themselves as worthy of care and respect, and may view others as trusting and helpful. A secure attachment tends to lead to healthy self-regulation and coping skills and the development of future relationships that have a balance of intimacy, independence, reliability and trust (McLeod, 2018).

Children with an avoidant attachment style may likely to view themselves as devalued, unworthy and unacceptable due to the rejecting nature of their caregiver. As an adult, they may be emotionally distance from others, fear closeness, intimacy and being vulnerable, as a means of protecting themselves from getting hurt. They may view the world as unreliable, leading them to be self-reliant, self-dependent and protective (McLeod, 2018).

Children with an ambivalent/resistant attachment style may likely have a negative self-image, be angry and confused and seek out ways to gain attention. They may be disinterested and anxious towards others and struggle with forming strong and positive emotional connections. They may also have feelings of insecurity, be overdependent and always seek approval from others (McLeod, 2018).

While a caregiver’s level of sensitivity is one factor, there are many other factors that can influence a child’s attachment style such as their temperament and experiences. Ultimately, early attachment sets the template for the future development of relationships later in life. This is why it’s important that families, parents/caregivers and provided and offered with supports to ensure the healthy development of their child’s social-emotional and overall development.

A video created by Health Nexus on attachment and relationships.


If you are interested in exploring attachment theories further, I have referenced a couple of links below where you can find more information:

Attachment (City of Toronto)

John Bowlby – Attachment Theory; Stages of Attachment:

McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Attachment theory. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html

Mary Ainsworth – Strange Situation:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, Aug 05). Mary Ainsworth. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

Brain Development in the Early Years

Early Childhood

Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning.” – Center on the Developing Child

man in gray shirt holding baby in white onesie
Photo by nappy

If you haven’t already read What is ECD? it’s a great place to start as topics mentioned there will relate to what I’ll discuss here. As I mentioned in that article, the first 3 years of a child’s life is the most important. Relationships and experiences play a significant part in the earliest years as it is ultimately where it all begins. Experiences are created through relationships and it is how a young child learns. Nurturing and supportive experiences (through serve and return) repeated overtime with the caregivers in a child’s life eventually forms a healthy, secure attachment which is bounded by a feeling of trust and security. These repeated experiences and type of relationships all get build into the architecture of the developing brain (see: “More on Brain Development” below). A secure attachment is formed when a child has learned that they can trust that their needs will be consistently met, and they feel a sense of safety and protection with their caregivers. There are also 2 other types of attachment styles. The type of relationship a child has established from the beginning sets the template for how they will view future relationships. This template is known as their internal working model. When a child learns that both they and their needs are important and will be met, this contributes to the later development of many future competencies, including how they feel about themselves, their attitude towards learning and others, the types of relationships they will continue to form, and even how they understand and interpret their own emotions and that of others.

It’s important that future relationships, especially those that are formed outside the context of the family and home, are also sources of trust and safety; such as when a child enters school and is exposed to opportunities to develop relationships with their peers and teachers. Children learn best through relationships in all contexts. A child will continue to learn things such as people have needs, feelings and thoughts that are different than their own, such as in situations that may require them to share or wait their turn. In school, when a child has established a positive relationship with their teachers and peers, they are more likely to be eager to learn, attend, and be successful in school. The positive relationships and experiences early in their life lay the foundation for hopefully new positive relationships, experiences and learning to form. If a child is going to school not feeling happy and excited to learn, there is possibly a reason why and it’s important to pay attention to that.  

I understand that brain development in the early years is a very board topic which is why I’ve kept this article short. As I continue to publish more posts, you will learn from a range of topics that contribute to an understanding of how children grow and develop into adulthood. The two things I want you to take away from this article is the importance of early relationships and experiences. These both play a large part in present and future development but do not operate in isolation. It’s important to acknowledge that there are a range of other factors that contribute to development. These will also appear in future posts. So, stay tuned, as I hope to continue sharing with you.

More on Brain Development

The Brain Architects Podcast: Brain Architecture: Laying the Foundation


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.