Get More Oxytocin – Foster Intimacy, Reduce Your Stress Levels!

Stress is an inevitable and believe it or not, necessary part of our lives. Stress can actually be enjoyable, it provides motivation and challenge and without it, we would probably not achieve very much at all. Stress triggers the well known “flight or fight” response and a cascade of hormones which are soon dissipated if we do turn to fight or run away, but in today’s society, the types of stress we encounter and therefore our response to those stressors is very different. Adrenaline, noradrenaline and other hormones are constantly produced with ongoing, long-term stress a significant factor in most of the chronic conditions of our time. Modern lifestyles, with focus on achievement, success, acquisition and business dominance, tip us always towards the “flight or fight” hormonal pathway, so scientists and health professionals are intimately familiar with the downsides of those unopposed hormones.

However less well-recognised and until recently, poorly studied is another hormonal pathway that is the exact mirror opposite. Secreted into the bloodstream like other hormones, but also produced by the nerve endings so acting like a signalling substance, oxytocin is well known to obstetricians and gynaecologists as the hormone that makes the uterus contract during labour, stimulates the let down reflex during breastfeeding and is also released at orgasm. But while it might seem that women get more than their fair share, oxytocin is actually present in both sexes – promoting calm, connection, bonding, love and intimacy. It directly counteracts the fight or flight response, reducing stress levels, and also promoting production of growth hormone, which is important for healing.

Clearly we can all benefit from bigger doses of oxytocin, so how do we get it?

Because oxytocin is a peptide hormone, it needs amino acids for its production. That means good quality protein at every meal and snack. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure you combine different types of vegetable protein in any day to ensure a supply of all the essential amino acids. Regular orgasms will provide a hefty dose for both partners, but if you’re on your own, don’t miss out. If you find orgasms elusive, an intimate gel or lubricant can be a great help whether you have a loving partner or are seeking oxytocin production alone! If you breastfeed to your baby’s schedule, your will be awash in a sea of oxytocin, you will experience the sense of calm and patience that it confers, and of course your baby will get all the benefits too. You will probably also find you have less desire for sexual intimacy with your partner as your body is continually flooded with the “orgasm” hormone. Remember why your desire has decreased – but don’t wean your baby. Finally, nurturing touch stimulates oxytocin production. So make regular massage or other body work a regular part of your life. If your budget runs to a professional treatment – that’s great, but this is something that can be easily done at home … make sure to include the kids. They’ll love it and their activity levels will reflect it.

“Touch has decreased as input to stress-generating mechanisms has increased. We need calm and connection not only to avoid illness, but also to enjoy life, to feel curious, optimistic and creative!”** We need more oxytocin!

Stress and Conception – They’re Unhealthy Bedfellows

Stress can have a profound effect on sexual performance, fertility, conception and all other aspects of reproduction. Ask any man who has had to produce a semen sample in a doctor’s surgery what stress does for sexual performance! But stress also affects the physiological processes necessary for fertilization to occur. If a stress response is too severe, its effect on the pituitary can inhibit the process whereby sperm are added to the seminal flow, and the prospective father may have little or no sperm in his semen. Continue reading

The art of saying ‘no’

Ultimately, saying ‘yes’ to everything tires you out. You can improve your well being by learning the delicate art of saying ‘no’.

Most of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to saying ‘yes’ to everything that is asked of us. I can’t tell you the number of people that I have treated over the years who felt overloaded, fatigued and resentful for having been put in situations where they’ve had to do things that they either didn’t want to do or didn’t have time to do.

The reality is that you create the situation by saying ‘yes’ when you should have said ‘no’.

You choose to forgo your own needs rather than having the courage to say ‘no’.

You choose to accept being overloaded rather than risk being thought of as selfish or inconsiderate. But have you ever thought about how unfair it is to say ‘yes’ to someone and then feel angry at them for it? If you are going to say ‘yes’, mean it, get your head around it and get on with life. If you are saying ‘yes’ and meaning ‘no’ then that is leading you to trouble.

There are enough stressors in life without creating new ones for yourself every time you are too afraid to say ‘no’. No one likes to disappoint or let anyone down, but in life it’s a reality – the only question is whether you will choose to always let yourself down by never letting anyone else down.

It’s time to show some respect for yourself and to start saying ‘no’. It doesn’t mean that you are selfish or don’t care; rather it demonstrates that you understand your limits and are realistic about what can be achieved given your time, resources and capabilities.

Respectfully saying ‘no’ shows others that you are not willing to disappoint their expectations by promising more than you can give.

It’s not only others that we must learn to say ‘no’ to, we also have to learn to say ‘no’ to ourselves when we’re not acting in our own best interests. You might have experienced the ‘I’ll just finish this one thing’ syndrome, where you become so single-minded about your work that you neglect to look after the other areas of your life.

It usually strikes after 5pm on a weekday and every time you think ‘I’ll just finish this one thing’ another hour slides by with you still sitting at your desk – then you grab something fast and fattening to eat, or decide it’s too late to go to the gym, that you’re too tired to catch up with friends as planned and the ‘poor me’ behaviours begin to creep in.

Negative emotions like the ‘poor me’ suck the life out of you. It is generally unnecessary fear that stops us saying ‘no’.