How Stress with Oxytocin Can Be Your Friend – Really

So, what happens to you when you are in a stressful situation? Does your heart start to pound and do your palms sweat? Most of us have come to see stress as a threat to our health, but new research indicates that it may not be as bad for us as we once thought, at least not if we can change our attitude about it.

Research discovered that people who viewed their response to stress as being helpful vs. harmful were less likely to experience a negative physical stress response. Participants blood vessels stayed relaxed, even if their heart was pounding.

Did you know: When you become stressed your body pumps out oxytocin, a stress hormone. This neural hormone primes you to crave close relationships and support from other people. The stress response pushes you to talk about your stress to gain support. Oxytocin acts on the body as well as the brain – it actually protects your cardiovascular system from stress.

The heart has oxytocin receptors that help cells regenerate and heal. So, when we reach out to others who need support or seek support for ourselves – we benefit. Additional studies indicate that people who spend time caring for others actually have a decreased risk of dying from a stress-induced medical condition. In fact, the numbers are significant, for the group of people who had not cared for others, there was a 30% increased risk of dying from stress-induced causes.

Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal fills us in.

How do you feel about stress now?

-The Alternative Daily

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