Sorrow and sadness are part of our human existence, both personally and on a global level. In reflecting on grief, I am aware that there is simultaneously a feeling of deep love, if we open ourselves completely to the emotion. Tears have a purifying, rejuvenating, and Light-bearing power, as well as a great capacity to heal. Consider the miracle of the raising of Lazarus. It took a unification of the deepest human expression; first, the tears of Mary and the others gathered there, and then the tears of Jesus, combined with the most all-embracing, highest divinity (Divine Breath, known in Hebrew as ruach). Lazarus was not just lifted from the grave; he was healed as well. (John XI 33-38)Continue reading “Tears of Joy”
Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is a powerful natural biochemical with physical and psychological effects. Acting as both a hormone (affecting the endocrine system) and a neurotransmitter (affecting the nervous system), oxytocin is well known for enhancing sexual behavior, reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding, and maternal bonding. Perhaps less well known is the role that oxytocin plays in generating compassion, empathy, trust, relationship building, and social bonding.
The Whole-Body Effects of Oxytocin
Produced by large neuroendocrine cells in the hypothalamus, oxytocin is transported to and secreted by the pituitary gland, where it is released into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body and brain.1 When oxytocin enters the bloodstream, it affects the uterus and lactation, but when it is released into the brain, it affects emotional, cognitive, and social behavior, and enhances relaxation and psychological stability.
By helping the body adapt to highly emotional situations, oxytocin reduces stress and helps us respond appropriately to our social environment. Research shows that oxytocin benefits a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Oxytocin also regulates nonhomeostatic, reward-related energy intake, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, and the glucoregulatory response to food intake in humans. For these reasons, oxytocin may be helpful in the treatment of metabolic disorders, as well as helping to manage food cravings and weight.2-5 Continue reading “Seven Easy Ways to Increase Oxytocin: The “Feel Good Hormone””