Oxytocin is OH SO FELT!
Have you ever climbed out of bed, looked in the mirror and wondered WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT? Only because your face looks like you put 5 years on it overnight. This was me a few days ago…and here’s why!
What started out as a couple of days in Fredericksburg working on our little house project turned into almost 2 weeks here. The worst part was the lack of supplements and wonderful things I take daily or weekly. I was left with nothing for a week and MAN DID IT SHOW!
My hubby brought all of my goodies back with him after a quick trip home to check on things. That morning I woke up, looked in the mirror and said out loud, “this is the worst I’ve looked since I’ve been here.” At that point, I had been so busy, I wasn’t putting two and two together…and chalked it up to long days.
I went straight to the fridge and got out my goodie bag of supplements and peptides and gave myself a dose of everything.
Again, I wasn’t really thinking about my need for the goodie bag due to the busyness of my days, but as soon as I had them back in my system, it showed. Plus the added bonus of my newfound fav…Oxytocin. As I told you in my last blog, I was going to try adding a couple of things to my mix. Oxytocin was one of them and it was IMMEDIATELY felt.
Say Hello to my Little Friend…
That is an understated play on words as Oxytocin is more than my new little friend, it’s my NEW BFF!
Let me explain why…according to the Professionals on psyc.com
What Exactly is Oxytocin?
This powerful hormone has a reputation for playing cupid. But the full story is a lot more complicated. Most people know oxytocin as the hormone that’s most closely linked to our social ties—especially when it comes to love and raising children.
“We often see it discussed in relation to attachment and social-related behaviors, including empathy and bonding,” says Lily Brown, PhD, Director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania. But it’s a lot more than a fleeting chemical high. Oxytocin is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It’s thought to be a driving force behind attraction and caregiving, and even controls key aspects of the reproductive system, childbirth, and lactation.
Oxytocin has earned the nickname “the cuddle” or “love” hormone because it’s released when people snuggle up, have sex, or bond socially—in fact, the effect is so strong, that even petting a dog has been shown to release it.
How Does Oxytocin Affect the Brain?
Oxytocin plays an undeniably important role in establishing and maintaining relationships. And it all begins in one place: the brain. Once oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain that keeps the body’s internal functions in balance, it’s secreted into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. From there, oxytocin is directed into your spinal cord or other parts of the brain depending on its ultimate purpose.
Blue Skies and Rainbows
Released into our brains under the right circumstances, oxytocin has the power to regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication.3 Thanks to oxytocin, we get a toasty, tranquil feeling whenever we’re with the people we care about. And the more we engage in these feel-good behaviors, the more oxytocin we get—you might even call it addictive.
Oxytocin is also connected to serotonin and dopamine. This trio of neurotransmitters is often referred to as the “happy hormones,” and for good reason. Under the right conditions, they work as a team to make us feel butterflies. Whenever we’re with someone who we’re attracted to or care about, our brain releases dopamine, serotonin levels increase, oxytocin is produced, and presto—you get the buzz that love songs are written about.
How Does Oxytocin Impact Relationships?
Oxytocin contributes to the parent-child bond. (It appears to have a stronger effect on mothers, but fathers are also affected.) 4 Mothers with high levels of oxytocin are more likely to be affectionate with their children, frequently checking in, touching, feeding, singing, speaking, grooming, and bathing their babies. In turn, the children receive a boost of oxytocin and learn to seek out more contact. A similar effect has been found in adoptive parents.5
Oxytocin is even thought to impact fidelity by some experts. Researchers believe that oxytocin’s influence on reward pathways creates a positive behavior loop for engaging in social and sexual contact with a reliable, monogamous partner.
What Triggers an Oxytocin Release?
For the most part, releasing oxytocin requires one thing: another person. While it’s traditionally associated with sex, breastfeeding, and childbirth, almost any form of social bonding or positive physical contact can trigger oxytocin. One study (on chimpanzees) even found that sharing a meal does the trick.6 Common triggers include:
What Triggers an Oxytocin Release?
- Positive physical contact (cuddling, kissing, hugging, holding hands, etc.)
- Social bonding (talking, making eye contact, laughing, etc.)
Do Men and Women Experience Oxytocin Differently?
Women typically have higher oxytocin levels than men.7 (It’s a key hormone involved in childbirth and lactation, after all). Biological differences aside, men and women appear to experience oxytocin in many of the same ways. It facilitates bonding with children, increases romantic attachment, and plays an important role in reproduction for both sexes.
But that’s where things start to split. While the area isn’t well researched, scientists have noticed some key distinctions in how men and women process oxytocin. For example, several studies have found that in men, oxytocin improves the ability to identify competitive relationships and navigate their fight or flight response. Instead, oxytocin tends to increase feelings of kinship. This could be because oxytocin behaves differently in the male and female amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotion and behavior.
What Other Systems Rely on Oxytocin?
Oxytocin isn’t all in your head. Here are some of the additional ways it keeps our bodies running:
Calling oxytocin the “love” hormone is actually a PG-rated version of the scientific truth. In reality, oxytocin doesn’t just induce cuddling—it plays a crucial role in the reproductive system itself. While the exact mechanism isn’t clear, sex has been found to stimulate the release of oxytocin, which appears to intensify erection, ejaculation, and orgasms. 9 Oxytocin also causes muscle contractions in the uterus and womb, which helps move sperm along and increases the chance of pregnancy.
Another trigger for oxytocin? Labor. As the cervix and vagina begin to widen for childbirth, oxytocin is released and starts a familiar feeling for mothers: contractions. This helps the baby move downward and out of the birth canal.
The connection between babies and oxytocin doesn’t end there. Oxytocin stimulates the “let-down reflex” in breastfeeding, making it easier for milk to flow.
The effects of oxytocin on eating behavior and metabolism are increasingly being put under the microscope. A recent series of studies show that oxytocin reduces activity in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls hunger, and increases activity in parts of the brain associated with impulse control.10
When increased under stress-free conditions, research suggests that oxytocin promotes sleep by countering the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone. However, research in this area is limited.
A Stressful Time…
I am NOT a person that stresses easily, in fact, I try to stay really positive most of the time, no matter the situation. But, after doing my research, I realized how easy it was to NOT produce enough oxytocin (or as much as I’d like to have). Therefore, I was intrigued by Elite’s Oxytocin injection.
What It Did for Me…
I don’t care who you are, working on 5 fixer uppers at the same time can most definitely cause moment of stress. Matter of fact, I decided to wash a load of clothes THIS MORNING in our new washer and dryer that we purchased for the house. And THE THING FLOODED the entire laundry room!! Typically, I would run and get the hubs to come do his man thing and fix it. But, my man was up in a tree with a chainsaw and I decided it wasn’t an ideal moment to go break the news of our latest disaster. Oh, and I forgot to mention, we hadn’t purchased any towels yet. Not even the paper kind!
Think Jenn, Think!
I started laughing…HARD! As I was laughing with myself, I immediately turned off the water and began shoveling the water out the back door. I grabbed a trash bag full of old sheets and threw the entire pile down to start soaking up the water. Within minutes, the laundry room was dry, disaster diverted and Oxytocin helped keep me calm. I totally believe that. I may TRY to stay positive most of the time, but in situations like that, I would typically FREAK! Once all was back to normal, I text the hubs and let him know what happened and that all was ok! Except for the fact that he might need to hire someone for certain things in the future. LOL!
Speaking of BFF’s…
I have been so blessed by a few of the very best friends on the planet. I don’t have many, just a few, but that’s all a girl needs. One in particular has been my maid of honor, business partner, shoulder to cry on, sheet cake lover, baby helper, sister from another mister for 25 years. A few years ago, she moved away and took a giant chunk of my heart with her. My eyes are welling up as I type (must be the oxytocin). Good tears are shed when I think about all that she brings to my life. AND GUESS WHAT????? She’s only 30 minutes away from Fredericksburg and I’ve seen her SO MUCH since I’ve been here. I had her help me decided on light fixtures, bedding, wall color, tile, where to eat and what to do. She’s THAT friend to me.
I Have a Point…
I have felt so thankful, blessed and appreciative of this project due to the fact that I get to see her. My natural Oxytocin HAS to be high and I’m trying out Elite’s Oxytocin at the same time. I have felt the happiest and most joyful I have been in a long time. My husband and I are working together in a way I never thought possible and I’m loving this little town. Whatever little push my newfound BFF (Oxytocin) gave me to help me feel so blessed, IS AMAZING. I have no doubts that several little things have occurred because I was in a frame of mind to allow them to just happen. No stress, no anxiety, just feeling BLESSED!
Tip of the Day!
I REALLY want to tell you all the ins and outs of fixer uppers, but I’ll spare you and go with this instead…
I am having a HUGE canvas made for one of the houses and this is what it will say… “When you have more than you need, build a bigger table-not a higher fence.”
Cheers to Bigger Tables!!