Oxy what? Oxytocin. How can a substance produced by your body – in both men and women – help in regards to health, relationships, and prosperity? Let me explain.
As a family medicine practitioner, I knew of oxytocin’s role more in the health of women and those with chronic fatigue, behavioral disorders, and autism. Oxytocin is a hormone excreted by the pituitary gland. In women, oxytocin plays a role in childbirth, causing uterine contractions, release of endorphins to help with childbirth pain, aids in breast feeding and in maternal bonding with her baby. In both men and women, it is considered a hormone of desire being released during orgasm and plays a role in the bonding and ongoing attachment of couples.
Today, we use oxytocin in people with chronic fatigue to help with aches and pains, increase energy, and help with depression associated with this disorder. Recently, the autistic community has embraced oxytocin as part of treatment, as we know oxytocin plays a role in social behavior and can help with repetitive behaviors and increase the desire to form social bonds, process social cues and calm a heightened stress response. We have also started using oxytocin with people suffering from adrenal fatigue and burnout. Cortisol levels (abnormally high in those with adrenal fatigue from having an over-jazzed flight-or-fight system) will drop and normalize when oxytocin is given or stimulated in the body to be released.
But what about oxytocin helping relationships and generating prosperity? Believe it or not, there are scientists out there who study the relationship of our brain in relation to economic models – neuroeconomists. Dr. Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist, has unlocked a few important keys. He studied people playing a game in which the only way to make money was to give some of what they had to a stranger. He found consistently high levels of trust and trustworthiness in those who “prospered” and at the root of this was the hormone oxytocin. In his book “The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity”, Zak explores oxytocin’s larger role in all kinds of human endeavors.
Oxytocin is released by the pituitary gland when someone trusts you, it motivates you to reciprocate. Moral and social behaviors are stimulated by oxytocin. Moral behaviors put the other person equal to or above ourselves, while in “sinful” behaviors we put ourselves first. Because we have a mass of oxytocin receptors in the front of the brain, the release of oxytocin essentially makes it feel good to do good.
So where does prosperity come into play? Another economist, Riane Eisler, has revealed that the wealthiest nations are those that embrace what Eisler calls “caring economics”. The richest countries in the world are those that possess a high level of trust. Many other economists and neuroeconomists have demonstrated that measuring interpersonal trust across countries strongly predicted which countries were rich or poor. Norway is very high and Columbia is very low.
When trust is high, there are more transactions that create wealth and therefore there’s a greater increase in prosperity. So if you’re in a situation in which you are very stressed out, your environment is very uncertain and trust diminishes. An example is Wall Street, which practices a “take all the marbles and run” motto. As a business person, I recommend learning more about how caring economics works as it is research proven to supersede what many business people do – compete at a cutthroat level instead of foundering collaboration and trust.
Business organizations such as Business Network International (BNI) have embraced this model quite successfully following a “giver’s gain” philosophy of acting from a trusting place of “if I give you referrals/business, then you will want to give me referrals/business”. If one learns how to stimulate the brain to release oxytocin – or take oxytocin – then one can access trust and compassion which can lead to more prosperous relationships – kin to the “good ole boy network”, but healthier.
So, how does one stimulate the brain to release oxytocin to help establish trust in self and others, thus making relationships healthier and business more prosperous? Women can reprogram their brain to release oxytocin even during stressful situations through breath work. To learn more, visit BraveHeart Women’s website, an organization that helps women collaborate and become prosperous: https://collaborate.braveheartwomen.com/. For both men and women, hugging – at least 8 times a day Dr. Zak says, will help achieve levels throughout the day. A six second handshake will also cause oxytocin to be released (for those who don’t hug). Social media can also help with the release of oxytocin. And as mentioned, there are a plethora of oxytocin sprays, injections, and sublinguals that are available, especially if using for medical issues.
Personally, I have embraced oxytocin as part of my daily routine and this is what I have discovered – my levels of anxiety and fear have greatly diminished. My relationships with business colleagues as well as with my family and friends have become easier, richer, more communicative, and happier. Being my own guinea pig in this new buzz called oxytocin in the medical and economic world, I would say the experiment has generated in me more happiness, health, trust, love, compassion, and yes, prosperity.
Renae Blanton, MSN, ANP is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Sonas Integrative Medical Center. She specializes in integrative family medicine with a focus on environmental issues such as lead toxicity, anti-aging, women’s health and chronic disease and illness. She can be reached at 970-247-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.