Have you ever wished you could be a more “open-hearted”, person?
This refers to a state that is not merely emotional or spiritual. Do you realize that this also refers to your physical heart, cardiac health?
Acts of loving kindness produce oxytocin, with all its health benefits, including heart health.
Barbara Fredrickson writes, “Researchers who have combined the use of oxytocin nasal spray (versus placebo) with brain imaging have also learned that oxytocin modulates the activity of your amygdala, the subcortical structure deep within your brain linked to emotional processing. Specifically, under the influence of a single blast of oxytocin nasal spray, the parts of your amygdala that tune in to threats are muted, whereas the parts that tune in to positive social opportunities are amplified. Reflecting these negativity-dampening effects, a single shot of oxytocin can also help you glide through stressful social situations, like giving an impromptu speech or discussing a conflict-ridden topic with your spouse. If you were to face these difficulties under the influence of oxytocin, studies suggest, you’d have less cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, coursing through you, and you’d behave more positively, both verbally, by disclosing your feelings, and nonverbally, by making more eye contact and friendly gestures. Related research shows that behaving kindly in these ways also raises your naturally occurring levels of oxytocin, which in turn curbs stress-induced rises in heart rate and blood pressure, reduces feelings of depression, and increases your pain thresholds…because all people need social connections to survive and thrive in this world, oxytocin has been dubbed, “The great facilitator of life”.
If you want to hear more about the multi-faceted benefits of loving kindness, come to one of our seminars in Netherlands or Italy.
Why kindness is good for you: Dr. David Hamilton at TEDxHackney (17 minutes to watch)