The importance of our Mums (my lovely Mum pictured above) in our lives has been brought to forefront for me this month. Of course it is the month when we celebrate Mothers day and acknowledge all the things that our Mums do for us.
Sadly, it was also a time I had to say goodbye to a special lady in my life, Mrs C.
Mrs. C was the Mum of one of my dear friends. My friend and I met when we were 17, and so Mrs. C had been in my life for quite a number of years. Whenever I went to her house, Mrs. C was always there with a big hug and a nice cup of tea… loose leaf of course!! And Mrs. C was an avid baker, and no visit was complete without a tasty sweet treat!! Over the years, she imparted lots of words of wisdom to us girls. Many hours were spent drinking tea with us and teaching us how to make perfect scones. In fact, her scones were infamous, and I still use her scone recipe today!!
Have you ever noticed that when you hug your Mum, or any special woman in your life, you get overwhelmed with feelings of love, warmth, and wellbeing? This is due to the release of a hormone called ‘Oxytocin’. This hormone not only plays a key role in the relationship between a mother and her child, it also has a vital role to play in the functioning of our brain and nervous system. It effects on day to day emotions is well documented, and low levels have been associated with anxiety and depression, among other things.
In his article “How to increase Oxytocin levels in the brain”, Jordan Fallis writes that research suggests that increasing our levels of Oxytocin, can benefit us by:
- Increasing our feelings of calmness and security, thus reducing stress and anxiety
- Improving our mood and feelings of contentment
- Reducing the release of our bodies stress hormone Cortisol
- Reducing inflammation and stimulate healing
- Increasing our pain threshold
- Increasing positive personality traits, such as empathy, trust, and openness
So, apart from hugging lots of women, how can we ensure that we keep our Oxytocin levels high? In his article, Fallis outlines 25 steps by which we can naturally increase our levels. A couple of them are of particular interest to me. The first is caffeine. Fallis states “researchers have found that caffeine significantly increases the release of oxytocin”. He talks about drinking coffee, but of course, tea also contains caffeine, especially black tea, which contains nearly as much caffeine as coffee.
Drinking Camomile tea is another way of increasing your Oxytocin levels. This medicinal herb has long been used for its calming properties, and as Fallis says, it “contains substances that act on the same part of the brain and nervous system as antidepressant drugs”. It is of little wonder that having a cup of tea can make us feel relaxed and calm.
It is of no surprise that touch is a quick way to boost your oxytocin levels. We all know how good it feels to hug the special people in our lives. From his research, Fallis has discovered that “a 10-second hug every day can help boost your immune system, fight infection, increase dopamine, reduce depression, and lessen fatigue”. And this effect extends to cuddling our pets as well!!
So what do we need to do every day to keep our oxytocin levels high?
- Drink tea
- Hug our Mums or other special people
- Cuddle our pets
Sounds perfect to me!!
Crazy Tea Lady
MRS C’S SCONE RECIPE
- 3 cups SR flour
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- ¾ cup water
- Preheat oven to 230° c
- Beat butter and icing sugar.
- Add egg, then flour and milk alternately until the mixture becomes soft.
- Divide into scones.
- Bake 10 minutes.
To read the full article “How to increase Oxytocin levels in the brain” by Jordan Fallis 30 March 2019, go to: