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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Raising Oxytocin: Stress, Health, Weight & Well-being


Stress is very bad for your health. You know this. Stress also negatively induces weight gain. You might not have known this. More below. And stress - obviously - impacts on your inner well-being.

How Stress Affects Weight:
  • The hormones released when we're stressed include adrenalin -- which gives us instant energy -- along with corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol. While high levels of adrenalin and CRH decrease appetite at first, the effects usually don't last long. 
    And cortisol works on a different timetable. Its job is to help us replenish our body after the stress has passed, and it hangs around a lot longer. It can remain elevated, increasing your appetite and ultimately driving you to eat more. Source
  • Weight gain when under stress may also be at least partly due to the body's system of hormonal checks and balances, which can actually promote weight gain when you're stressed out. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite. Cortisol has been termed the "stress hormone" because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, and the normal pattern of cortisol secretion can be altered. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Source
Clearly stress, that already affects your health and well-being, also affects unwanted weight gain, and just as clearly, it would be highly beneficial if you could learn how to easily alleviate yourself - and your entire system - of stress. You've been reading about the benefits of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, sitting in nature, and so on, but at times it is beneficial to have even more tools at your disposition.

Enter Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a hormone that helps relax and reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, has anti anxiety effects, and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. In addition, it promotes growth and healing. Source
Clearly, raising your oxytocin levels appears to be something that would work in your favor. Some of the most well-known methods of doing this (short of ingesting the hormone), are brought about by physical touch (taking a walk with a loved one hand-in-hand, arm on shoulder, linked arms, where the loved one could be a child, a friend, a lover or spouse), by cuddling, hugging, sex, and orgasm, or even by caressing a pet. 
There are other natural ways of raising those oxytocin levels in order to lower your stress levels and connect with others at the same time because in some fashion our oxytocin levels increase precisely when we connect:
  • massage
  • dancing
  • praying
  • giving someone a hug ... in fact, giving many hugs each day ... Paul J.Zak (see below) recommends giving eight hugs a day
  • increasing the amount of time you spend looking into someone's eyes when you speak to them, as opposed to checking your digital devices every few seconds
  • giving something to someone 
  • thanking someone for something they have done for you
  • calling someone or sending them an email just to let them know you are thinking of them
And by the way, according to this illuminating article by Paul J. Zak, author of The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works, and TED speaker here: "Studies show that the more one releases oxytocin, the easier it becomes to do so. That has certainly been my experience practicing these oxytocin-releasing activities. If you can do all ten of these (listed in the article), you'll be an oxytocin master." 


Also visit my new website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world & practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd; Founder Trans4mind.com; author: Daring To Be Yourself 

"The human being's directory to the soul. A breakthrough for those seeking practical assistance, those of a more mystical bent & every soul awaiting discovery." Toni Petrinovich, Ph.D.; author: The Call: Awakening the Angelic Human

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

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