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Stress and isolation

Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 4.8

We are social beings. In fact, having healthy relationships is one of the most important factors to good health and overall well-being. But what can we do to connect with others even when we can’t be with them?

Watch this episode to learn more about what’s happening with the oxytocin levels in our bodies — yes, that’s right oxytocin, the cuddle hormone.

Resources

Transcript

Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to Two for You. In this episode, we're going to talk about stress and isolation. We know for our emotional mental and physical well-being having positive relationships is key to a full life and a long life. But what happens in times of stress?

[Lori] Right so did you know that we often talk about the cortisol hormone right that's activated during stress, but did you know that oxytocin is also key in stressful times?

So really what happens is you often you want to retreat or be on the couch or kind of settle in and be alone, but your brain is sending you a signal to say hey I need a connection in order to increase my well-being. So if oxytocin is kind of this craving but also being released even when we think we don't want to get off the couch, we need to go.

[Denise] Right so your body's telling you to connect but what if you're feeling socially rejected? If your isolation is one that's forced on you or it's one that is the situation calls for I know that feeling of isolation you may be feeling rejected.

And what we've learned through research is that the brain registers that social rejection as physical pain.

[Lori] That's so powerful.

[Denise] It is, so if someone's feeling, you know isolated and socially rejected and physical pain, oh my gosh, what can we do about this to help us all through these times of stress?

[Lori] Yeah, especially when we can't be together, right. So technology is our friend. We have a few just really simple tips that sound really simple but in the great part is that means that we can also do them they're tangible for many of us right.

So the first one is schedule a virtual coffee. Even when you're isolated you might still have a busy schedule but take that time to relax and connect with a friend and get together like you would at a coffee shop.

You can send a quick text and really the idea here is let's someone to know I'm thinking of you. It could just be an emoji something to make them laugh or a different meme.

And lastly, create a quick video, do something funny and then send a challenge back to them so that you get a video back, as well, that you can laugh at it more than once.

[Denise] So stress in isolation, were wired to be connected. So make the effort to connect. I recently heard doctors say the fact that even if we're all alone if we know that we're in the situation together and we're getting to a better place together that we feel connected.

So you do your part as you live and lead with intention.


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Authors: Lori Rothstein, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement; Denise Stromme, former Extension educator

Reviewed in 2020

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