Friday, March 23, 2012

8 Hugs a Day

I'm hokey sometimes.

Okay, maybe a wee bit more than sometimes.  What can I say?  I dig the smiles that are brought on by cheesy lines of hope.  Occasionally the smile is in tandem with an eye-roll, but it's all good. 

I'm enjoying this particular post, however, because it's the first time I can put it out there in writing that my hokey-ness is backed up by research.  I dig research almost as much as smiles (I'm a hokey nerd), so I'm delighted when I get to read new, interesting articles that can affect the way my clients live their lives in a positive way.

Infertility is no joke.  The emotional roller coaster that one must ride when faced with this ridiculously difficult disease is not unlike the diagnosis of a terminal illness.  That's right, folks.  Research shows that infertility is a life crisis not unlike a cancer diagnosis.  So, when I come across something (anything!) that can help someone struggling with this disease, I want to spread it around. 

Today, I received an article from Positive Psychology News Daily about the neurotransmitter oxytocin and how it behaves in our bodies.  Though I won't go into the details of the article here, the main gist is "oxytocin is released in the body when we feel safe and connected and tells the brain, 'Everything is all right.'"  It also reduces the amount of the stress hormone, coritsol, in the body (most people understand the whole stress thing). 

Lightbulb!  Infertility makes one feel out of control, isolated, stressed out, and as if nothing will ever be right again. Oxytocin to the rescue!  How do we get us some of that?

Oxytocin is naturally ocurring, and is released when one merely thinks of someone they love, during cuddle sessions, or thinking of happy faces to name just a few. (It's also released during breast-feeding -- a big "grrrr" to wanna-be-breast-feeding-moms out there struggling with infertility.)

One could also find it synthetically, though a brief Google shopping search brought up a vial of injectible oxytocin used to assist mammals in giving birth (grrr again).  With fertility treatments involving a billion needles, I'd say skip the vial and go the natural route.

The article references a TED talk where Dr. Zak (also known as "Dr. Love") suggests increasing your oxytocin levels by hugging someone 8 times a day.  I'm assuming he means hugging someone you know, although I haven't watched the entire video yet.  Visions of random NYC subway train hugging come to mind....I'm thinking oxytocin would not be a part of that scene.  Just sayin'.

With that, here's your Coping with Infertility Rx of the month:  8 Hugs a Day

Who will you hug?


Be well,
~M

22 comments:

  1. I love it!! I am going to try to get 8 hugs/day from my sweet husband. We are very cuddly. :) Before I moved to CT, I used to work in Miami, and the office culture at my company was very touchy-feely. I had a really stressful job, but I always got lots of hugs. And they did make me feel better!

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    1. How fantastic! I love that your stressed-out work environment encouraged hugs, too....so wonderful.

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  2. Wow...very interesting. I'm gonna get my hug on this weekend for sure. I'm thinking my husband and my best friend who is coming to town for a visit. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hope you had plenty of hugs over the weekend!

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  3. Oh, oxytocin. The day I gave birth (naturally I might add ;)) I remember breastfeeding my baby later that night and felt like I was on some super strong drug. I literally felt like I was taking crazy painkillers that make your whole body feel warm and fuzzy. It blew me away.

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    1. YES! That's oxytocin!!! Warm and fuzzy neurotransmitter..lol!

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  4. I hit the nail on the head with exactly how infertility makes me feel. Guess I need to be hugged more!

    ICLW #61

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    1. Yes, Trisha....go get your hug on, girl!

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  5. I totally buy into the idea that infertility makes one feel completely out of control and hopeless. I was recently pondering why I have committed myself so completely to running lately, when usually I would rationalize and excuse myself out of it, and I'm thinking it has something to do with my total lack of control with fertility stuff. Running is at least ONE THING I can fully take control over, and I think that's why I've been so committed!

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    1. Oh absolutely, Jen....running (and exercise in general) is so fantastic for ameliorating the craziness of infertility. You get some serious endorphins (i.e. runner's high), AND you get to feel more in control. You're doing a lot right. :)

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  6. Very interesting! I'm off to put my husband to good use in giving me 8 hugs. Or maybe I'll go a bit easier on him and take a few from the kitty too ...

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    1. Nothing like hugs from the hubs and the furbabies, right?

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  7. Just found your blog through ICLW. I look forward to reading!!

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    1. Welcome, KAM! Thanks for checking it out. :)

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  8. Fascinating...the more I was mired in infertility, the less I wanted to touch anyone because of the isolation. Especially when I was on the evil drug cl.omid. I wonder if I had known this if it could have made things a little easier to cope with?

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    1. I absolutely hear you, Geochick. ::daggers thrown at Clomid:: I would venture a guess that it may have been helpful, and even if you couldn't stomach touching someone, merely thinking about a loved one releases oxytocin. Perhaps that could be of some help to someone out there feeling the same way.

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  9. Hi,

    Great post! I'm not a TTC blogger, but I like that advice about eight hugs a day. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Love the Wayne Dyer quote that you took your title from too!

    Best wishes,

    Casey

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    1. Hi Casey! Wayne Dyer is amazing...so many wonderful things to say. But that quote definitely sticks out. :) Welcome!

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  10. How interesting! And I could totally see how cuddling/physical touch could help with the craziness of infertility. Thanks for a great post!

    ICLW #47

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    1. Hi Christine! Oh good! Hope you get your cuddles/hugs during moments of stress. :)

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  11. I'm a total research geek as well. Although, I hate the #s part of research, so I always skip that and go right to the good part (you know discussion and conclusion). While i agree that 8 hugs a day would be good for you, I parrot what Geochick says that I think my longstanding infertility in addition to 2 boys who are always climbing all over me, makes me less interested in anyone else hugging me. then again, I probably get more than 8 from them, so I suppose I'm good to go :)

    thanks for the visit to my blog! Stil catching up from ICLW...

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    1. Haha! I completely understand skipping to the discussion and conclusion....the stats are pretty boring, even for a research geek. Totally hear you on not wanting to be touched. After your boys have gone to bed, merely *thinking* of good times with them will release some significant oxytocin, and you can hang around the rest of the evening with an improved mood. :)

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Thanks! You've grown a few more brain cells by commenting. No really...you have.