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When you were born, your mother produced a hormone called oxytocin that would bond you, your mom, and your dad for life. This bonding hormone is secreted to ensure that you will be properly cared for your entire life. A mother’s bond, as they say, cannot be broken – but it can fade!
This bond can be reinforced regularly with expressions of love, care, giving and touch. In studies where participants received intranasal injections of oxytocin to boost the bond, they were found to be more trusting towards strangers, more generous, more willing to share deep emotions, and less fearful. (1-3)
In one study, men who were married who received intranasal oxytocin were noticeably uncomfortable when a single flirtatious women would approach them, suggesting that marriage, as does the relationship between a mother and child, creates a lifelong bond. (4)
However, these lifelong bonds are not a guarantee, according to the science, and may need reinforcing. (5) In one study, an increase in the oxytocin bond between a child, mother, and father only increased when the attention was affectionate. (5) Continued expressions of love are required.
Mother’s Day, as commercial as it has become, is an opportunity to seal the bond. There is a precious bond between a mother and child, and when it is reinforced through acts of kindness, love, affection, or caring touch, it offers incredible benefits for both mom and child – at any age.
Studies show that through the expression of love and affection, oxytocin is produced, (6) and numerous health indexes are improved when we produce oxytocin through love and positive emotions. (7,8) Not only that, but strong bonds, connections, and relationships with others have even been shown to be a factor contributing to longevity. (9)
It Has To Be From Your Heart
This Mother’s Day, make sure you don’t pick out a card in haste and quickly jot down some loving prose. It’s important that you “feel it.” I realize that often, moms can push our buttons, but in most cases, underneath those buttons are true feelings of love, affection and gratitude. Functioning from this place of love – which is really the essence of the human condition – is critical. Not only does it signal the release of oxytocin, but it can change how your genes are expressed.
In one study, researchers compared the effects giving has on our genes. One group gave sincerely, from a loving and genuine place, and the other group gave hedonistically, with benefit for their own well-being in mind. The group that gave from a true, loving place saw a positive change in the genes and the group that gave selfishly, either with resentment or expectation to receive something in return, saw no beneficial changes in their genes. (10,11)
Research in the field of quantum physics has begun to show that, even if your mother is far away this Mother’s Day, chances are she will still be able to feel your love and gratitude from a distance.
In one study, when two people interacted and were then separated, they could still feel each other. Once separated, one partner was stimulated and at that same moment the brain waves of the non-stimulated partner marked the same brain wave change as the person stimulated. (12)
So your mom might be feeling more than you think…
We spend our lives developing only a handful of very deep relationships that we can trust fully. Relations with mothers and other family members may be hard at times, but they are the ones that also offer the most profound opportunities to grow. Take advantage of the opportunity this Mother’s Day to give fully, love fully and carefully. In Ayurveda, they say doing this is actually better for you than it is for the one who is receiving!