It is life-changing to have someone in your life who “gets you.” Someone who sees you and understands you and believes in you.
Tom Rath, in his book, Vital Friends, studied homelessness and was curious about what allowed some people to conquer such dire circumstances, while most did not. His research was eye-opening. Rath discovered that the homeless people who “made it out” had an answer to the poignant question: “Who in your life expects you to be someone?”
Take a moment right now and bring the person to mind that best fits this description in your life—someone who believes in you, expects you to be someone. Now, take the next 60 seconds to bask in the good feelings of remembering the impact this person has had on your life. Feel it in your bones. Feel it in your soul. Let it wash over you like a wave.
Congratulations. You just released oxytocin into your system. And you probably feel better as a result.
So is this just all warm-and-fuzzy nonsense? Science tells us otherwise. In various studies, oxytocin has been shown to:
- Ease stress—Anxiety, stress and depression abates after injections with oxytocin.
- Improve our ability to interact with others—Inhaling oxytocin significantly improved the ability of people with autism to interact with others and also reduced autistic individuals’ fear of others.
- Foster generosity—Individuals who inhaled oxytocin were 80 percent more generous in deciding how to split money with a stranger, and the hormone seemed to affect their sense of altruism as well.
- Induce sleep—Oxytocin released in the brain under stress-free conditions naturally promotes sleep. (And, let’s be honest, most of us don’t get enough of this!)
The other important brain-friendly consequence of oxytocin is that it relaxes us. Our body language loosens up, the tension in our face drains away, and our smile warms into a natural Duchenne smile. The people we are interacting with “read” all of this in both subconscious and conscious ways and, in turn, let down their guard, as well, creating more authentic and transformative coaching conversations.
Dose yourself with some oxytocin today and notice the difference it makes in your coaching connection!