The Anti-Stress Hormone + How To Increase It
Sometimes I geek out on biochemistry –– those chemical processes that prompt how we move through life.
Our biochemistry drives our behavior.
Each day, our stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) run through our bodies influencing many of our imperative functions –– including metabolism, energy, blood sugar, sex drive and sleep.
When our stress hormones are in balance, we feel generally strong, resilient, positive, and joyful.
When our stress hormones are out of whack things tend to go awry:
We may try and try and try some more to manage our anxiety, or our high levels of overwhelm and simply find it to be a losing battle over and over again.
We may wake up in the middle of the night with our minds spinning and lie awake (in a panic) for hours.
We may notice our high levels of stress are destroying our eating ––we crave sugar, french fries and/or a couple extra glasses of pinot to take the edge off.
Our thoughts are a hot mess! We may blame ourselves for not being more resilient, strong and grateful.
All we are doing is trying to cope. 🙈
Have you heard of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone)? Oxytocin promotes connection, bonding, and closeness.
Today I want to tell you why oxytocin is my favorite hormone (and maybe the most important of our time!).
Not only is it the feel good, warm and fuzzy, cuddle hormone, but oxytocin also keeps us calm, lowers inflammation and most importantly balances out our cortisol –– the sneaky, chronic and destructive stress hormone that has most of us in a tailspin.
If you are like me, you would most likely prefer your oxytocin be higher than your cortisol –– to relieve chronic states of stress, higher levels of depression and/or anxiety, extra weight gain, and uncontrollable cravings.
The good news is that you can create more oxytocin in your life.
Want to know how? I've got some answers for you today:
7 MINI TO-DO'S THAT WILL MASTER YOUR OXYTOCIN AND LOWER YOUR STRESS.
Not only are these simple, do-able and user friendly to-do's, but they are so very pleasurable, because oxytocin elevates our pleasure –– so feel free to let it fly!
1. EAT OXYTOCIN PROMOTING FOODS
Yes! You can eat yourself into a more positive and calm state. Balanced-blood sugar, loads of tryptophan rich foods, healthy fats, antioxidants and B vitamins to support your brain chemistry result in higher level of serotonin, higher levels of oxytocin and lower levels of stress.
Be sure to check out the following calming superfoods to feed your body into a more oxytocin induced biochemical state.
Dark chocolate (specifically raw cacao)
Black sesame seeds
Whole milk yogurt or kefir
2. TAKE OXYTOCIN PROMOTING SUPPLEMENTS
There are several (high quality) supplements that encourage the release of oxytocin. On a biochemical level, there are many ways to boost you up. Here are a few to explore.
** often times you can find a blend of many of these supplements that will . support your oxytocin. If you need a little help, let me know. Check out our online apothecary HERE
3. ENJOY OXYTOCIN PROMOTING MIND-BODY PRACTICES
While it may seem like your monkey mind is not on your side at times when it comes to calming and uplifting your spirits, try these mind-practices to boost your oxytocin and shift yourself out of your habitual stress response.
Have a good cry
Long deep breaths (to engage to calming side of your nervous system)
4. CONNECT AND BOOST YOUR OXYTOCIN
Oxytocin is often called the love hormone, the cuddle hormone and even the connection hormone. Being close to another person elevates our oxytocin. Try these relational tips and see what happens.
Connect with your friends
Call a loved on on the phone
Give or receive massage
Give a stranger a compliment
Snuggle your pet
Enjoy a romantic meal with your partner
5. MOVE YOUR BODY TO ELEVATE YOUR OXYTOCIN:
When you move your body, you secrete endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones enhance your brain chemistry and are also the primary reason that folks tend to exercise to relieve stress. While cardio works well, you don’t have to go to the extreme, join a gym or become a hard-core athlete. Moving your body in a variety of ways will suffice.
Hike in nature
Go on a bike ride
Do some cardio
6. GET OUTSIDE AND SOAK UP SOME OXYTOCIN:
Being outside correlates to higher levels of oxytocin. Soak up some sun. Listen to the sound of nature –– birds chirping, rivers rushing, frogs croaking. The connection hormone is also about connecting to nature.
Try forest bathing (sit and enjoy nature while doing nothing)
Camp in the woods
Read a book in the sunshine
Sit by a river
Enjoy your lunch under a park tree
Have a bonfire
Sit at an outdoor dinner table
7. GIVE FOR THE LOVE OF IT:
We are social creatures and we are wired to help one another. Giving is a neuro-pathway that has been shown to be a powerful way to creating more joy and improving overall health.
Help a friend
Make a donation
Volunteer with an organization that speaks to you
Give advice (when warranted)
Help a stranger change a tire
Handling a stressful situation the best you can (with the above knowledge in your back pocket) may help you navigate some of the most common automatic responses to stress that could lead to or exacerbate imbalances in your stress hormones.
Ultimately, you don’t have control of when or what stress life throws at you, but you do have power within your stress response that can be honed and sculpted over time to create a healthier and happier life.
I’d love to hear from you! What is one oxytocin boosting to-do you are going to try? Tell me in the comments below.