You Were Created to Handle Stress Sucessfully, Part 3 of 3
Get closer... Its good for you.
Oxytocin has been nicknamed the cuddle hormone because it is released when you hug another person and during other intimate situations. It encourages kindness and increases empathy. What many people don’t know, however, is that Oxytocin is as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound. It motivates you to seek support, share how you are feeling. With Oxytocin as part of your stress response, you are better prepared to notice when others are also struggling so you can be supportive. When trials in life occur, your stress response encourages you to be surrounded by people who care about you.
Oxytocin also acts on your body, it is a natural anti-inflammatory, helping your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress and the heart itself has receptors for this hormone, helping the heart cells regenerate and heal, strengthening the heart. And the more you reach out to others under stress or seek to support someone else, the more of this hormone you produce. Human connection in times of stress makes you increasing resilient to stress.
There is a study conducted by the University of Buffalo that supports this. A thousand adults in the U.S. were asked, what is by now, a familiar question:“how much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked “How much time have you spent helping out friends, neighbors, people in your community?” and then they used public records for the next five years to find out who died.
Major life stressors like financial difficulties or family crisis increased the risk of dying by 30%, but that wasn’t true for everyone. People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. None. Caring created resilience.
The world of science is now beginning to see that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable as once taught. Our ability to care for ourselves and others during stressful times has always been part of our design. Knowing this truth about how well your body is prepared for these times, how you think and act, can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful instead of something to escape from, you create “the biology of courage”. And science now understands something that we need to be reminded of: when you choose to connect with others under stress, you create resilience.
Trust that your body is designed so that you can handle life’s challenges and that, not only don’t you have to face them alone, you were designed to seek help and be of help in times of stress and need.
SayHi@DeborahGuy.com for more information.