Hi, Dr. Valerie here with you today to share with you another piece of science awareness and some concrete tools you can start using right now to empower yourself to feel better and help those around you. If you’ve missed the previous videos where I was sharing with you pieces of this information you can find them here and today we’re going to go a little deeper into what it means to be thriving on the hormonal levels – and this will apply to people across the gender spectrum – and I’m going to speak specifically to women because there are some things that we need to understand about our own biology and our own inherent strengths that we may be under-utilizing at this time. And there are reasons, valid reasons, for why we are under-utilizing them, but those things can be life-changing and even life-saving right now.

So speaking about surviving and thriving right now, all our survival programming is activated. The programming that we’ve inherited from previous generations, and it has enabled us to make it as a species here, we have survival of the anxious. And yes, a certain level of anxiety creates preparedness. It helps us think fast, act fast, sometimes impulsively but sometimes in a useful way. But then we actually do need to down regulate our nervous system because if it stays in high activation, if we stay in that anxiety response that’s being triggered through all this ancestral trauma and all that survival programming in our system, then we’re actually shooting ourselves in the foot, because that undermines our immunity, that undermines our health, it undermines our ability to restore through restful sleep. It undercuts our ability to connect with others. I’m going to talk about the value of that in a moment. So long explanation short, that shifting from survival to thriving is an essential, essential ability. And here in these videos, I’m sharing with you some pieces of science awareness and tools to help you do just that.

So why is it that we are so conditioned to stay in survival? Well, as a species that’s kind of self-explanatory. When back in the day, at the dawn of humanity, we would be wandering about unprotected and hear rustling in the bushes. If inside a responsive survival response didn’t kick in, and we didn’t go into fight / flight / freeze and run away or fought off the danger or played dead to stay safe, then we would perish. Our gene pool would not survive. And for women, there is another layer that has been created by the trauma of over 10,000 years of patriarchy where women basically did not have an opportunity to thrive. Women did not have ownership of our bodies, we did not have ownership of our destiny, and we did not really have opportunities to have all of our needs met. And our desires, what is that for a woman? She is not entitled to her desire, right? So now that we have the opportunity to actually access our needs, our desires, and even design our lives from that place, that conditioning really undercuts our ability to do so. So what’s important here to understand is that pleasure and well-being is not prioritized for women and I’m not referencing going out and getting manicures and pedicures, or taking bubble baths. That’s fine but what I’m talking about goes deeper. Our nervous systems are actually so habituated to staying in a constant state of survival that translates into high levels of stress. And now when the situation is legitimately pushing on these buttons, this situation is heightened, and we need to be particularly aware of the conditioning that propels us to ignore our rest, restoration, and self-care on a deeper level, the level that actually restores our nervous system not just the surface level self-care doing some online shopping for that next skincare routine. It’s all good but it doesn’t necessarily have the deep benefit that we can receive.

So what deep benefit am I talking about here? Well let’s go into science a bit and remember the wonderful natural chemistry of our body and specifically a large player in this chemistry for women is the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is produced during childbirth and during bonding between mother and child. And it’s also produced in sex, it is also produced through touch, and it’s produced through consuming food. So it’s important to know because right now there may be a natural inclination to consume more food in order to produce oxytocin, which is fine, just experiment with other things as well. If sex is available to you with your partner or solo, absolutely this is doctor’s orders. Touch is hugely important. Our body chemistry does not distinguish between whether we’re touching our own skin or we experiencing a loving touch from another so this is how we can actually produce oxytocin right now, so would you just take a moment and do this. Touching your own – no we’re not supposed to touch our faces, so touch other areas of your body. Touch your skin. it’s the skin-to-skin gentle touch that is what is creating the oxytocin response and after doing that for a few minutes, even a few seconds you may start actually feeling a little high which is great news. The chemistry is kicking in. What oxytocin is doing for us, is it is reducing the stress response, therefore increasing our immunity, supporting our health, increasing our ability to have a restful night’s sleep, and increasing our ability to connect with others. Now, especially as we’re connecting virtually, it’s very important to stay in our bodies, to experience the full benefit of that connection, and create a little bit of oxytocin action. Here I am touching my face, the old habits die hard ha ha ha! But it also feels very good and I did wash my hands and I am practicing social distancing. So touching your skin, creating that oxytocin response before connecting with others virtually may give you a sense of really deepening that connection and benefiting from that connection is also huge antidote to stress. It supports our health and it supports our sense of well-being. And I’m going to float a very radical notion here that especially for women, your pleasure – you feeling good right now – is a truly revolutionary act. It is always a revolutionary act, but here in this situation, it is our responsibility to lean into our pleasure, lean into our feeling good, because when we are nourished, when we are feeling good in our bodies, when our oxytocin supplies are running high, then we can also both give and receive on a whole new level. And of course our immune system is supported as well.

I’m going to share with you another opportunity to stay connected. I know I’ve been doing these videos in a recorded form but I’m going live in my Facebook group ‘How Good Can It Get? with Dr. Valerie.” So if you’re on Facebook, please join. My intention is to start building these communities of connection in this time especially it is so so important and sharing tools and answering questions with you live. I look forward to connecting with you there.

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