Oxytocin is our Courage Hormone

Oxytocin is our courage hormone and the gatekeeper of bonding, connection, and love-associated feelings.

What about enthusiasm and patience, compassion and gratitude, kindness and forgiveness, a sense of service, and present-time consciousness?

They are variations within the label of emotion that oxytocin promotes.

First and foremost, to activate oxytocin to make these emotional variances possible, one has to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, calm the mind, and vocalize, as it turns out.

Only while in the growth or repair phase of the parasympathetic healing system can we express true honesty, truthfulness, listening, learning, feeling, insight, intimacy, and emotional satisfaction.

I don’t like the concept of vulnerability because it activates the sympathetic system, closes this emotional door, and changes brain activation from creativity to problem-solving.

The shift from an open creative mindset and feelings happens as one becomes vulnerable. 

Vulnerability elicits a stress response as it perceives a threat, and the brain immediately begins to focus on how to solve the potential risks perceived.

Hence, no one can make you feel vulnerable but you, according to your subjective perception. 

Being vulnerable limits honesty, truthfulness, intimacy, bonding, creativity, and more profound personal learning and interpersonal growth.

That’s where personal boundaries come in.

Personal boundaries are not set for the other person but for oneself to not shift out of the emotion of honesty/oxytocin. 

Setting up any discussion and environment with intention is very important, as is identifying when potential risks and vulnerabilities arise to readjust, address, or return to when a more supportive environment is established.

If someone begins to feel at risk, aka vulnerable, they should reassess the situation. IMO

The realm of intimacy and honesty can push comfort zones, express insecurities, share embarrassment and fears, and expand into the opposite in sharing dreams, hopes, feelings, desires, fantasies, etc., and not create self perceived risk or vulnerability.

When one has set the optimal environment, both people engaged in the conversation can grow and expand the realm of possibilities, connections, bonding, and intimacy.

To do so, we need to work to stay in the proper state to nurture that.

What most people think is vulnerability is honesty.

To be honest, one must first stop lying, then tell the truth, and practice honesty.

I can “not lie” but still not tell the truth. I can also “not lie” and tell the truth, meaning I can tell the truth and still not be honest. 

It expands as the ongoing conversation does, and the completeness is what develops and creates the depth of intimacy and widens the connective landscape.

For me, intimacy is optimal when neither person feels vulnerable but instead is open and feels “right” at the moment. Some would call that trust.

When the conversation has this depth, I feel calm, and it ends with me feeling at ease. 

Even aiming to end happily can interfere with and disrupt the process. Ideally, I try to detach from all expectations. Let it be and evolve naturally. At least, that’s my goal.

All of this depends on the natural and normal expression of our love, connection, and bonding hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin works on a teeter-totter directly inversely to our stress response hormone, cortisol.

When one is activated and up, the other goes down. 

There is one catch. Cortisol outranks oxytocin in our hormonal hierarchy for survival.

When cortisol is acutely activated, no amount of oxytocin can overpower it.

If you have ever been in a personal conversation with someone who is clearly struggling or hurting, and all you pour out is love and support only to watch their pain and anger continue without change, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Stress and love never show up to the party together.

Safety and vulnerability can’t co-exist at the moment.

Any perceived threat, emotional or physical, acutely activates cortisol and shuts down oxytocin.

If you needed another reason to upgrade your stress resilience, this might be just the message you needed. I know it was for me.

Seek to create the environment to practice honesty and understand how the vulnerability might hold you back from precisely what you are trying to pursue.

Now back to my Irritable Male Syndrome (I.M.S.) program content. If you want more information, please keep following and join my group, “Insulin Friendly Fasting Secrets,” and share with those who care. 

We can do better!

Dr. Don