Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Personal Performance, Stress Management, Thrive Strategies | 0 comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To-day is Valentines Day, a day dedicated to connecting and spending time with someone special.  While it shouldn’t be necessary to have a special day to tell someone how important they are to you, it is nice to have an excuse to show how you really feel without feeling silly.

And so it seems very fitting that this morning my morning paper had a front page story extolling the importance of love and friendship to our health and well-being.  It seems that they now have scientific proof that the chemistry of love – in particular the hormone oxytocin – can make us feel better in times of stress.

You may have heard of oxytocin because it is better known as the hormone connected with the bonding effect with newborns, but they now know that it’s involved with much more.  It’s also involved in adult love, friendship and even the building of trust and, when levels in our bodies are high, we are less responsive to the myriad of stressors that we encounter throughout the day.

This is way it is important to those of us who want to THRIVE to cultivate strong relationships with those we interact with and supportive friendships with people we can turn to when we need someone to talk to, even if it’s just to spend a moment ‘to vent’ before we move on.

My Grandmother often encouraged me to talk when I was feeling down with the comment “a trouble shared is a trouble halved”, and over the years I’ve come to recognize the wisdom in that simple phrase.  Just having someone nearby that you know loves you and wants what’s best for you helps you feel better, if for no other reason than it helps distract you from the problem and allows you to feel loved and valued. The problem won’t have gone away but your ability to cope will be stronger and you know that you can let your hair down and yell, scream and even jump up and down without losing their support.  Knowing they love you also makes it easier to ask for help without them thinking any less of you.  After all, they say two heads are better than one and somehow it always seems easier to uncover solutions with a bit of help.

And the healthy affect of oxytocin in offsetting the negative impact of stressors occurs from not only having a significant other.  It now appears that the support of friends also triggers a similar reaction and there are indications that it can help prevent mental illness and depression by preventing the brain’s circuits from becoming over loaded.

So if you want to THRIVE it seems like a pretty good idea to cultivate healthy relationships with others and build a strong support group of friends, no matter what your age.

 And have a Very Happy Valentines Day – it’s good for you!

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