Following the herd or not....that is the question...

So far, we have learnt more about dopamine and serotonin. When I study human brain, the more I learn about it, the happier I become. It is because knowing and understanding human beings bring me peace and relief. Many people blame themselves and others for feeling this or other way but once we understand how chemicals operate in our brain, we may bring more acceptance to our lives.

Oxytocin is a happy hormone that comes together with touch but only when we are touched by someone we trust. It is mother – child bond. Mammals have only few babies in their lifetime. Mother must guard each baby to keep her genes alive. Oxytocin motivates baby to stay safely with her mother.

Oxytocin’s job is to keep us safe. It is that comfortable feeling when we are close to someone we trust. The primary role of our brain is to keep us alive. In the nature by staying together with own troop, we have higher chances to survive than wandering alone. Oxytocin plays important role because social isolation is a danger in nature.

Oxytocin turns on when you see signs that you have social support and you feel threatened when it stops. Mammal brain evolved to make careful decisions about when to trust because anyone who is close enough to touch you is also close enough to hurt you.

The best example is given by monkeys. They groom each other and create individual and social alliances but grooming each other is not only for that nice feeling of oxytocin to be released when they touch each other. Monkeys groom each other with intention to protect each other from attackers. Basically, they say: I groom you = make you feel good and now you owe me. But paying back not always happen.

Monkeys betray each other the same way as people do. That disappointment and betrayal feeling has its own aim: for your survival don’t trust everyone. Thereof human brain constantly is seeking for good ways to stimulate oxytocin and at the same time is scanning for betrayal too! That’s why many people long for happy relationships but develop anxieties and fear at the same time which unable them to establish a a real deep connection with another human being….

We said that social isolation is dangerous in nature. Human brain works the same. The primary instinct to follow the herd comes from our mammal brain but we have also neo cortex - the thinking brain which can judge whether following the herd is good for us nor not.

We have two brains and I believe we need both. Inner mammal is the instinct which can protect us when real danger is around and neo cortex the thinking brain can find good in the world when level of oxytocin drops, and anxiety arises.

Here are healthy tips for creating own oxytocin:

1. As always, I suggest make peace with your brain. Accept you are a mammal and you need that part of the brain, you need your intuition, don’t be ashamed of your own feelings.

2. You can train your brain by watching your self. Bring meditation and mindfulness into your life.

3. Use body massage as a good way to release stress. Arrange with your partner time and space or do it for yourself. There are plenty self massage tips online – how to do feet reflexology, belly button healing is a fantastic tool too! (see my course online here:

4. Trust people but with small steps by verifying their intentions.

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©2020 by Ola Mason.