Intense emotions such as anger, fear and sadness can be crippling in the moment. They can feel like they “take you over.” In a way, they do. This is because if you are so upset that your brain is literally go into “fight-or-flight” mode, there is likely a lot of cortisol (the stress hormone) coursing through your body. When that happens, you may feel irrational, overwhelmed and desperate.
What’s the antidote to cortisol? Oxytocin. Oxytocin is the “feel good” hormone of safety and security. When you’re experiencing a high level of emotional overload, the idea here is to try to trigger the release of oxytocin.
Here’s what you do:
- Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes and put your hand over your heart.
- Take slow deep breaths and conjure up in your mind a person, place or even a pet that represents safety and security.
- Do this for at least 30 seconds. Notice and take in the more relaxed state.
- Repeat as helpful.
Research has shown that doing this simple exercise will usually trigger the release of oxytocin in your brain which has a calming effect. It is an excellent way to soothe yourself.