Why Do I Feel Disconnected? The Cortisol-Oxytocin Connection
Posted on 19 July 2014
Do you feel stressed, tired, lonely and disconnected from your relationships with others and even yourself?Do you prefer to stay home than socialize? Have you walked by people you know and didn’t say hi, not because they annoy you but because you didn’t want to interact? Are you missing the warmth of love and connection? Do you just not have the energy to connect? If you have felt this way and thought that you can will yourself out of it but are struggling, read on. (Especially if you are holding an energy drink in your hand right now!)
What if I told you that feeling this way may not be your fault?Why? The answer is in your biology and your biology to a large extent drives your behavior. Yes, your internal physiology, to a large extent, bio-energetically effects your actions, thoughts, and feelings. The chronic effects of stress can literally empty our tanks and throw us way off balance. It is very possible that two of the most important hormones in your body - cortisol and oxytocin - are waging war on each other and wreaking havoc on your life! Allow me to explain how it works.
Cortisol - one of your life-saving hormones - is an immediate responder in times of danger and stress. It's our body’s natural anti-inflammatory.A perfect example of someone who runs on excess cortisol is a person who takes a vacation and immediately gets a cold. That happens because cortisol was naturally suppressing inflammation and inflammation makes you sick. Take that stress away, cortisol goes down… and boom any underlying inflammation flares up. Sickness is just the beginning of the excess cortisol hit list. Chronic high cortisol can also lead to rapid aging, loneliness, depression, adrenal fatigue and burnout and then chronically low levels of cortisol. This translates into inflammation taking over and that translates into rapid aging. Yuck! It also can become easier to disconnect, detach, walk away and not look back. These symptoms are also a sign of low oxytocin.
Oxytocin - is the powerful hormone of love, bonding and connection.It’s the hormone we release in abundance during childbirth that overflows as we look into the eyes of our newborn. It is also released in abundance with orgasm, laughter, play, hugging and giving. It’s the twinkle in your eyes and the smile on your face hormone! Yes! The peace, love and granola anti-aging hormone! Not surprisingly, oxytocin and cortisol have a love-hate relationship. Oxytocin and cortisol oppose each other. They are the two boxers in a ring, or the two kids on a seesaw. When one goes up, the other is forced to go down. The key is balancing the two. Although I've helped thousands of women balance their hormones, making this connection, no pun intended, was a big A-HA! It is the key to living full and happy lives.
How did I learn to create this balance?This is where it gets personal. I struggled significantly myself and when nothing in my Doctors bag fixed the problem, I sought out another solution to save myself AND my family. Several years ago, my family and I were traumatized when my son passed away in a tragic accident. We all experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and I became clinically depressed, stressed to the max, sleepless, inflamed, infertile, and hormonally imbalanced. I needed to find a way to live again for my family and myself. So I left my medical practice and we traveled the world… it was our healing journey. I came back pregnant, ready to make a new start. My children were healthy and happy and excited about our new baby. That was incredible. However, despite my enormous progress, I was still disconnected from myself and from my husband… and my marriage ended.
That loss allowed me to make a transformative discovery.I now recognize that chronic stress and PTSD trigger the cortisol-oxytocin disconnect and it may cause us to unconsciously walk away from things and people we love. Simply put, you may be walking away because cortisol won. That discovery has since allowed me to help thousands of clients struggling with a similar disconnect BEFORE it’s too late. The key is in understanding that the beauty in life is when oxytocin wins and that’s what I teach you to do.
I can teach you how to put oxytocin in the winner’s circle.To create more oxytocin in your life: hug, laugh, play, look into someone’s eyes and smile, orgasm, give gratitude and thanks, get and play with a pet, stay in the present, control the stress we can and manage our thoughts around the stress we can’t control. Take my oxytocin (secret hormone) quiz at www.cabecahealth.com to see the level of oxytocin you are experiencing. Pause. Breathe. Smile... Connect! ~ Dr. Anna
Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO Dr. Anna Cabeca is an expert in Women’s health and Functional Medicine. She is an Emory University trained, board certified Gynecologist and Obstetrician, and board certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. She specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and natural alternatives for optimal aging and high performance. Dr. Cabeca’s years of experience in her private practice along with her own journey of transformation has placed her as one of the most in-demand speakers regarding restorative health, sexual health and anti-aging. She is a consultant and trainer for other physicians in Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Functional Medicine Principles and creator of programs called WomensRestorativeHealt