Flow, Bonding, Hormones & Healing
Ever wonder how your hormones, flow and bonding are related?
Several of my blogs leading up to this one have described how “flow” correlates with the “restorative” capacity of the nervous system (characterized by Rest, Digest, Heal, Feel). We also looked at how when we’re not in flow, or in our “Zone,” what we’re experiencing is more of a survival-oriented response in the nervous system (Fight, Flight, Freeze, Hide).
Diving further into physiology we can loop in some discussion of the adrenal glands. Being that the adrenal glands act as air-traffic controllers of the body’s hormones, a general understanding of their role can really help us learn more about how we shift between these states. After all, that’s really what being your own doctor is all about!
So let’s dive right in. The adrenals are little walnut-sized glands that sit on top of our kidneys. The kidney being the “renal” system, and the “ad” renal being glands that are “added” to them. Put “ad” and renal together, and we get adrenal. Ad “in” and we get adrenalin! Most of us don’t realize where exactly adrenalin comes from, but now we do!
In addition to adrenaline (epinephrine), this sneaky little gland produces the stress hormone cortisol. It also produces sex hormones, and the hormone aldosterone that helps us retain sodium so we can absorb the water we drink, stay hydrated and maintain healthy blood pressure. It also helps us regulate blood sugar.
What we see is that when we are in flow, the adrenals are able to support our sleep, reproduction, digestion and healing. Conversely, since survival trumps all things, when we’re in stress, these restorative functions are moved to the back-burner.
To the extent that we’re stuck in survival mode more than we’d like to be (let’s face it, this is everyone ), we are less good at regulating our blood sugar, staying hydrated, and producing the hormones needed for mood stability, libido, fertility and even bonding and connecting with others.
And, did you know that the main hormone that increases with bonding — oxytocin — directly lowers cortisol!
So there it is in black and white. When we’re bonded and connected to the people and things we love, to our purpose in life, our nervous systems shift from survival to restoration.
Sure supplements and sleep can help, but the true underlying cause is generally less about a nutritional deficiency than it is about meaning and fulfillment.
Shifting states actually easier than it sounds. We’re asking our bodies to do what they’re fundamentally designed to do; connect, love and heal. It’s what we’re made for, and what we’re here for. Happy shifting!
Articles on accessing flow: https://www.michellevenezianodo.net/accessing-flow