Written By: Andrea Hop, Health Coach
It is safe to say our nation is divided. By opinion. By culture. By race. By orientation. By location. By values. Somehow, in our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, a trend was born of every man and women striving for success, by and for, his or herself. Many have forgotten our very code of freedom and our very fiber as Americans were created together collectively – unique people uniting as one for a common cause. Today, more than ever, it is important to go back to our roots of freedom and independence for all to raise up humanity starting with ourselves, then our families, then our communities, then our country, and then our world. Most people are functioning as players in a rewards based culture. We are all hardwired to seek and hustle for approval from others, which will give us feelings of safety and acceptance. This is carried over from our childhood into adulthood, and there is the potential for never shedding the need for emotional approval from those around us.
“Many have forgotten our very code of freedom and our very fiber as Americans were created together collectively – unique people uniting as one for a common cause.”
In the body, we have a chemical etching in our cells of needing approval. This translates into getting hits of the hormone dopamine when we get praise, win something, conquer a task, fall in love, become a success, achieve fame, earn money, and more. The downside of this is it is not intrinsically satisfying for people. Dopamine is high in our bodies during those times of success and approval, but once it wears off, we are hustling for our next fix. Many people turn to coffee, sugar, food, money, fame, shopping, etc. to get the next hit. Dopamine can be a driver behind being productive and successful, but there is a lurking problem. It is addictive, and we seek dopamine more and more. It can seduce us into being excessive in many areas of life and fuel our vices. However, there is another hormone to help us break this cycle of seeking approval and getting a dopamine hit when we receive it. As dopamine is a hormone causing pleasure, it has a polar opposite: Oxytocin.
The hormone oxytocin is a hormone that does not produce resistance in our bodies like dopamine, but rather promotes health and longevity. As Dr. John Douillard, a specialist in natural health and Ayurvedic medicine, writes, “Oxytocin is produced when you give, care for, love, touch, hold, hug, bond with, and nurture others. Oxytocin has been shown to support cardiovascular health, brain function, digestive strength, and much more. The more you give, the more oxytocin is produced.” Not only is this hormone powerful for our own wellness, it promotes the wellness of others as well through the love and care of the giver. There is a caveat with the release of oxytocin in our bodies. When we give without personal agenda and expectation of something in return, our body releases oxytocin. Finding our individual strengths and gifts for serving others is crucial to alignment and wellness in our own lives, but it is also a driving force of lifting up humanity and making a lasting impact in our world.
“When we give without personal agenda and expectation of something in return, our body releases oxytocin.”
Even when we struggle, feel down, are hurt and suffering, or are challenged, beauty and love are in the mess and chaos. It is our job to create it, find it, or mirror it to others and spread the beauty and love to those with unique opinions, cultures, races, orientations, locations, and values. Being grateful, and looking for the light in the shadows, is a mental and spiritual muscle we all have to work to develop and strengthen. We truly must work to crowd out and banish the negative, nagging thoughts and actions with the powerful, positive ones. If you make this a daily practice, soon it will become a habit. The effect of your love and caring for yourself and others will intensify, and you will have a freedom and inspiration that comes from inside and outside of yourself. We have the power to all be the change we wish to see our lives, communities, and the world. Together. United. Serving others. Valuing each other and our differences and lifting each other up to new heights.
Andrea Hop has followed her passion to pursue knowledge and understanding of how the right choices in life can nourish both the human body and soul. Andrea has a Bachelor’s in Psychology/Special Education and a Master’s in Learning Disabilities, both acquired through Grand Valley State University, and she enjoyed working as a high school support teacher. Following her passions in health, she chose to attend the Institute in Integrative Nutrition and received her Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification. In health coaching, her goal is to guide clients to focus to improve all aspects of wellness: using goal-setting, accountability, and simple changes that can lead to profound and lasting effects on quality of life and health.