Whenever we feel stressed, volatile, or are escalating into an argument, the stress hormones that are coursing through our body have revved up our nervous system out of our ‘window of tolerance,’ where we function at our best, not hyper-aroused or under-aroused. And whenever we shut down and withdraw, disconnecting and isolating for safety, our nervous system has become too constricted, and we are unable to engage and repair relationships.
At these times, caring touch is especially valuable since it releases oxytocin, one of the most effective tools we have for regulating the level of physiological arousal of our nervous system. Because oxytocin is also the neurochemical basis for the felt sense of safety and trust, it is the hormone of relational repair. It instantly antidotes the fight-flight-freeze response to any perceived threat or danger. Stress hormone levels are reduced, blood pressure is lowered, and we become less emotionally reactive.
This emotional calming can facilitate greater flexibility and openness, and restore a sense of connection that enables more collaboration and creativity. And when we feel safe and relaxed, we are able to think more clearly, and be more generous and loving to everyone around us.
So next time you’re feeling stressed and volatile, get an hour of expert therapeutic touch at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto to calm your nervous system and help you be more relaxed, open, and able to return to loving connection.