Adverse life events are inescapable, but how we relate to setbacks and challenges matters. Using fMRI, we invited participants to engage in self-criticism and self-reassurance toward written descriptions of negative life events (mistakes, setbacks, failures). Our results identify that neural pain and trial-by-trial markers of intensity are suppressed under conditions of self-reassurance, relative to self-criticism. Engagement in self-reassurance can therefore reduce the "sting" of negative life-events, both neural and self-report.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience