Love, Actually Is A Brain Chemical:
A lot of recent research has been focused on brain-building through nootropics/supplements and special meditation.
Both have shown some interesting and unexpected results, especially on improvement in quality of life.
As researchers of all kinds try to improve that life-experience from Gilgamesh, to R.W. Emerson, to Eckhart Tolle, new & old ideas get discovered & re-discovered.
And one of them is a seemingly out-of-the-way chemical scientists thought restricted to basic-cable reruns of “Love Actually”…
(come on, admit it, you watch that over the holidays too.)
Finding Gems In Everyday Biochemicals:
Over time, researchers have amassed a group of +/- “basic” hormones they’ve found run our bodies.
-And also our Minds.
Among these are: Cortisol, Norepinepherine, Dopamine, and Oxytocin.
The last one on that list was thought useful only for pair-bonding for quite awhile.
Decoding The Watchworks Of Meaningful Connection:
So Duke researchers are among many who know that both Sprituality & Meditation have strong positive links to good health & mental well-being.
And their angle was to find the watchworks behind them. Is there some kind of biological, or even chemical setup that facilitates or even creates that environment?
In-short. Yes. The “snuggle-hormone” Oxytocin.
What got them going was the idea that it had been a bonding-with-others chemical.
Well, how far could that go?
-To the extended family you adore seeing at Thanksgiving? To outsiders? To Infinity and Beyond?
Just How Far Can Bonding Go? TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!!:
So to check this out, they recruited a group of about 80 midddle-aged men and gave them some of the hard-to-administer hormone.
And then they surveyed them on any change in their feelings. They were also brought through sessions of guided-meditation, as they were not all selected to be meditators at the start.
With the reports in, it showed that men who received Oxytocin felt a significantly-increased sense of spirituality, meaning, and purpose.
They also reported a much-increased agreement with ideas like all things and all people being interconnected.
In-addition, those who participated in the guided-meditations reported experiencing hightened feelings of Awe, Hope & Serenity.
No Brain-Optimizing Prescriptions, Or Help For Women Just Yet:
The effects were not uniform. Just as before with Alcohol, a few people with a specific gene-mutation got an even greater reaction to the experiments.
Another divergence was Women.
For the present-time, it appears women respond in a completely-different way to at-least plain Oxytocin. So it may actually take a much more exotic cocktail to achieve similar results in the fairer-sex. Shocker!
While no prescriptions are being drafted just yet, the research points to a future where people ~may be able to influence their own feelings of community & zen.
And just like the Adrenalin-Dopamine Junkies of Roller-Coasting, Base-Jumping, YOLO!, and “Hey Y’all, Watch This!“,
The people who one day take meds to raise OT-levels may increase the richness and meaning in their own lives,
and in doing that perhaps make the world a better place in the process.
The Future Of Tweaking Brains For Minimum Mood Hormones:
In the Future, this might become a necessity as we become more de-natured, city-centric, and disconnected in many ways, all while glued to our own personal smartphone idiot-boxes.
Minimum-Levels of Oxytocin (and other brain chemicals) might even be considered “Basic Nutrition” at some time in the future.
Who’s to say that science won’t also find out the converse of this study?
-That having chronic low-to-zero levels of OT is actually unhealthy for you, and you really should take supplements to avoid some potentially harmful disease/syndrome? Like some kind of Psycho-Spiritual Atherosclerosis…
Competition Through Supplementation:
Another application could be in the area of Economic Prosperity through Productivity and Innovation.
-Because many Eureka!1@! moments often come as a result of what’s called the “Flow State”, which is similar to the frame of mind described by many of the test subjects.
If I were a CEO with an R&D lab, I might seriously-consider getting my chief engineers to optimize their creative-output with supplements like this.
Think of the possibilities when several high-powered brains are running on the biochemical equivalent of Jet Fuel!
-That is, if the downsides can be avoided if at all possible.
PS, On A Danker Note:
We’d also be remiss to leave out our old friend Marijuana.
Because an earlier study also showed a brain chemical related to the ones in pot is the daughter of Oxytocin & the likely-culprit for the direct-action on the brain that causes this spiritual elevation.
So score yet another one for the old MJ again!
And as an experiment for you, if want to see it in action: Discounting alcohol for a second, watch groups of people singing “Imagine” together on New Year’s Eve after the ball drops. There’s your Oxytocin right there.
Check out the rest of the enlightening details at the Links:
Oh yeah; -I love you, man…
Photo Credits: “Enlightenment”, by Dr. Zaro
• Source: Duke Today
• via: PT
• Source Study: Cog.Affect.Neurosci-Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditation [abstract] | Full Text [PDF]