I’m not a social psychologist, but I know how to research a subject on the internet,
and I decided to learn about what the experts say about three things I hate, but are
a huge part of my daily life, feeling stressed, dealing with rejection, and worrying.
My first article in this series will deal with stress.
Part 1 – Stress
Stress is defined as “changes our body and mind experience in response to a
continually changing environment, something you can’t control; for example, traffic.
You can’t control traffic; you can control attorneys talking at the same time or too
fast to a certain extent, but a full day of telling people to talk one at a time is
stressful, and often the court reporter doesn’t have control.
What I discovered in my research is if we adjust ourselves to different circumstances,
stress can actually help us, or hinder us, depending on how we react to it. When we are
stressed we secrete cortisol/adrenaline, fear or flight hormones. As a working court
reporter and firm owner, I have relied on adrenaline to write faster and get things done.
I felt being “hyped up” was the way to be most effective. I start with a double
cappuccino every morning to get my adrenal glands pumping. But after 40 years, my energy
level is not as strong, and as a consequence I have hypothyroidism and have to take
But, in my research, I learned about a relatively new scientific fact that is incredibly
great. Oxytocin, the “love hormone” can physiologically battle the harmful effects of stress,
and it is pumped out simultaneously with adrenaline.
What scientists used to believe is oxytocin would only be produced by a mother breastfeeding
her child to help bond with her child.
Physiologically, when we are stressed our arteries get tighter. Our heart beats faster, We
start breathing more, getting oxygen into our blood cells, which is a good thing, but that
tightening of the arteries is what’s really dangerous. Oxytocin actually widens the
arteries allowing more blood flow.
The question is: How do you get oxytocin to secrete in your body? Have you ever noticed when
you are stressed you want to reach out to a friend, confidante, someone you can talk to and
connect with? When you do connect, you pump out oxytocin.
Personally, when I am stressed out about work or life in general, I look to talk to my husband
or trusted friends. Just talking dissipates the “flight or fright” feeling.
The lesson is when you are stressed out, talk to a friend and connect – pump out your oxytocin.
Your arteries will open up, and your body will thank you. Oxytocin = resilience.
Advice from the experts: Think of your adrenals as a built-in pump, something that gets you
going when you feel that adrenaline rush. Stop saying, “I am stressed,” but think of yourself as
being in a situation that is giving you stress. It’s not you. It’s not your body. It’s the
situation. Be curious. Ask, “Why every single time I am in this situation I get so stressed
out?” And start your oxytocin pump.