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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