More Oxytocin Please!
In my first blog I discussed how stress is silently killing us modern folks and some efficient ways to relieve its impact on our body, mind and soul.
Today, I want to go a little deeper into the hormonal imbalances stress creates in our bodies. Stress, produces the hormone called Cortisol. We need Cortisol to activate our fight or flight responses - this is simply called nature. Everything in nature has its purpose and that is the purpose of Cortisol. So this is great when activated in moderation. However, if you have days, weeks and sometimes months like mine there ends up being a hormonal imbalance.
People love to call me SuperWoman and other fancy names.... for a long time I thought it was cute. Until I realized how nuts I was for filling my plate up the way I did and for years. There was a time ( not too long ago) where I was raising my baby boy under 1 and my daughter 8 by myself, teaching 10 group exercise classes per week at 5 different gyms, working as a full-time Sales Manager in Hospice, training clients 1:1 after hours and going on 5 hours of sleep per night. So of course to the world it seemed like I was a SuperWoman and I still am in many ways - but I rather be a healthy SuperWoman.
So, if you start your day like me yelling at your kids, rushing them out of the house, drop thing one off then thing two, then go to work and do another 150 things by the time you get home .... you catch my drift - you are living the modern life. If you are frantically moving through your day with a to-do list that never gets any shorter then this article is definitely for you.
Ok, so now that you got a glimpse of what my life used to look like and we found common ground... you are probably thinking this is nice and all but what does Oxytocin have to do with any of this. Thanks for asking!
Oxytocin is what we call the love hormone, yep the one that is activated when you are cuddling with the person you love or holding your newborn baby. If you have fur babies then just picture yourself hugging on them - that feeling, yep that feeling right there.... your Oxytocin levels are triggered right this moment. I know this because as humans we do this imagining thing as we read. When we read about something we also picture it. Along with imagining and visualizing come feelings that lead to hormonal triggering.
So here is the KEY.... you may not be able to do much about the level of stress in your life. Fair enough. But what you can do is focus more on what brings you JOY!
Start by cutting out the unnecessary burdens and the toxic people out of your life. Good riddance! Adios! Aurevoir! It is almost Spring time anyhow so de-clutter. Anything or anyone that does not bring you joy and thus increases your cortisol levels --> OUT.
Add Zumba into your life. Yeah - I know. You don't have time to make the gym, you are not coordinated, you don't like to sweat .... blah blah blah. Seeing I have been teaching Zumba for the last 5 years trust me I have heard it all. But in my defense studies have shown that the perfect combination of dance, elevated heart rate and upbeat exotic music produces JOY!
Ever heard of MINDFULNESS? That is a great one too. Make it a daily habit to REALLY focus on the present moment. Live in the moment! When you are laughing at your co-worker for falling down the steps ( that was mean!) or the new Marlon Wayans stand-up. Hold on to that laughter, feel yourself living. Laughter is good for the soul, so laugh often and really appreciate the present moment.
When you come home after a long day of work and, really you do not feel like being bothered but your dog "Oscar" really really insists on telling you about his day - that tail is wagging frantically like windshield wipers. Well, sit down take a moment to breathe and simply enjoy your pets presence. Sometimes I catch myself just pushing my two dogs out of my way - I have made it a daily practice to sit with both of them outside and just talk to them. Yeah, I am sure that my neighbors think I need help but actually I am fine! Who cares - just live.
Every moment is unique, we never get a do-over. So, figure out what brings you joy then focus on it. Most importantly do not lose sight of it - let your body, mind and soul overflow with a wave of daily Oxytocin!