The hormone that makes us brave?
When I first read about the description for this hormone I thought first of testosterone, adrenaline, or even cortisol. But I was mistaken.
This hormone is the hormone that I have been speaking about as the under-appreciated giant hormone personality in our lives and health.
This hormone has the ability to destroy the negative effects and high levels of chronic stress hormones like cortisol.
The way this hormone works and why it is considered the courage hormone is that when this hormone is stimulated it down regulates our fear response and can stop the fight or flight response of freeze or flee. When activated it amps up our social awareness and lights up areas of the brain associated with meaning and value and has been shown to make people more trusting, be more trust worthy and help others.
The hormone I am talking about is oxytocin. Oxytocin drives our mental awareness to what is important to us, opens our thinking to include others and promote empathy as it stimulates trust and therefor gives us courage to act in our social world and makes us brave with less fear and more compassion.
Oxytocin has been called the "bonding" hormone or the "love" hormone and is strongly stimulated during breast feeding, intimacy, and in close familiar relationships. It is also stimulated when you get or receive a compliment, play with your kids, when you hug or shake someones hand, when you pet your dog or cat, when you talk and when you journal.
The biggest social evidence of the power of oxytocin is how it changes our physiology through laughter. We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine and we can thank oxytocin for that.
Men in particular I hope you are reading and hearing this message. Many men experience mild to moderate depression and write it off under the guise of stress, corporate living, being the provider, having an "A" personality or being a "driver." These are issues I speak about in my presentation on the "Irritable Male Syndrome," and they are very real, and at these levels very responsive to oxytocin "therapy." Keep it in mind my brothers.
My friends I extend a virtual hug and mental handshake as I tell you all that I love and appreciate you and hope you join me today in seeking out a little extra humor and together we can all build up a little bit more courage and live the life of the brave!
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I love to study the development of this species we now call human. I read book after book on how we migrated across the globe, what we ate, what helped us survive, what patterns and traits formed our genetic code, how we grew these big brains, built communities and everything in between. With all that our species has gone through, and how we have evolved and slowly strengthened this amazing body and gene sequence we now have and enjoy I am constantly surprised at how much variation we now have in our health, well-being, how we respond to stress, diets, and respond to our world around us. As we evolved we didn’t all eat different ways, at different times or have all that much variety in our lifestyle at all. So why would a customized, person to person approach to weight loss, health, healing, and diet be so important today? Why is it so hard to get consistent health improvement, weight loss and results across our population? It really doesn’t make sense to me that a one size fits all approach DOSEN’T work for everyone, honestly and evolutionarily, it should……but it doesn’t! I think I know why.
Most of the people on this planet today would have died off in our natural, non-modern, non-cultivation, environment of the time past. Many of the people here and now, their families, and their entire lineages would not even be swimming in the gene pool today if the same world that formed our genetics was still in effect and ruling it today. What we call diversity in our populations is really an accumulating and growing set of genetic mutations, defects and weaknesses that are being supported by the efforts and support of others.
Hey, I am not trying to be cynical, overly critical, or negative, I get it, my own line would probably not be here. My dad would not have made it through childhood with his eyesight and my sister would not have made it more than a few days after birth. I had Lasix eye surgery myself and would have been at a disadvantage assuming I was born at all. This unnatural inclusion we support and extend to our society, the opposite of natural selection that has built our very survivability historically, is accelerating every single day with every dose of anti-biotics, with each life saving operation, every set of eye glasses, each assisted pregnancy, C-section, and each assisted living intervention and resuscitation that takes place.
And look, I am all for it. I am glad to be alive, have my father and sister, and know that a life saving antibiotic or operation is there if my children’s life were on the line. I think of how many contributions to society, art, science, medicine, culture and spiritual growth have been made by people and cultures who might not have been able to do so if they lived even 100 years ago, never mind 1,000 or 100,000 years ago. But this is just one side of the equation.
The other side that is seemingly magnifying this artificial process of human population growth is that of our modern technology and agriculture. Ever since we stopped the roaming nature of our small human communities and exchanged them for a stationary existence dependent on geography and crops which needs larger communities to tend it we have seen an exponential growth of our population and the need to keep pushing technology for us to do more, and more, so we can support all that we were creating.
This “civilization” process has essentially built a form of elective captivity that we all rely on and opt into each and every day. Our modern captivity along with the expansion of the variation in our gene pool devolves us into a weaker and weaker state with each generation as we become more reliant on the infrastructure we have built to support us and inflame the need of others to provide all that we now need.
So, what does this have to do with health and healing? It means that we have a vastly diverse genetic expression across our population that did not exist, or at least has not existed for long during the evolution of our species and now they breed and interbreed and live in the most artificial environment in history. Our lives are filled with essentially experimental conditions, exposures, stress, and proximity with others to produce the incalculable physical genetic expressions and reactions to all that this incredible combination of circumstances produce today.
What this means is that there are no, and there will not be again, any predictable or typical outcomes for people living in our society. There is no longer a natural human habitat or environment. Consequently, we will not know in most cases exactly why certain body changes, illnesses, diseases, mental and mood challenges come about if they do and even worse we will not have a standard of approach in dealing with them since the reactions to any given treatments or protocols and interventions will be as varied as the set of circumstances that led to their development in the first place.
There are no more rules in health and healing, just endless expectations. Where does this leave us? Are we doomed? No. The only option we have is to be proactive and basically live as if any and all diseases are in us or on their way now. We are not destined to be sick as many people believe but rather must live with the awareness that the environment is stacked against us. If we wait until signs, symptoms, or issues show up, it will be a lot harder get a handle on it and bring things back to a neutral if not optimal health and healing state. When and if things do show up that challenge our health and well-being we have to resist over simplifying our approach and think that some pill or single intervention will be the magic bullet that fixes our issues. That expectation will only guarantee a life long bout of misery as we chase our own ill-health tail in circles.
By looking at our lives, health and life style from a full and holistic perspective and try and support as we correct issues and overcome and eliminate what might have contributed to it in the first place, we have a hope of correcting the myriad of negative effects and promoting the incalculable and powerful healing mechanisms that lay in waiting for us to do what we need to turn them on. There is hope and the potential for greater health expression than most people believe possible but we will have to earn it, we will have to take daily regular action and accountability for our own health and well-being.
This is all great news for those who share our passion for learning and are committed to following a health promoting path that is as close as we can get to modern day natural living. This means holding a higher standard, not letting our guard down, protecting and teaching our children and supporting and strengthening our tribe together.
I for one am honored to be on this path with all of you! If we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to ask. After all it does not take a village, it takes a tribe!