So that begs the question. Do we really need Valentine’s day? Do we need all the fuss, all the media, all the lead up, all the anticipation for one day of love and romance?
Well, yes, the answer is yes, we do. Especially if you’re a women. Do you want to know why?
Heat flash. I mean, news flash. It all comes down to hormones.
John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, discusses romance, hormones and estrogen dominance on quite a few youtube videos. Estrogen dominance? This was news to me. I thought estrogen dwindled as we aged.
Interestingly enough, according to Christine Northrup, M.D. and author of numerous books on women’s health, many women do not experience a drop in estrogen as they approach menopause. In this article, she lists the symptoms of estrogen dominance, symptoms that are much too familiar to me. Yikes, I think I’m being dominated.
So how do we become estrogen dominant in the first place?
We all know stress is a killer, but before it kills, it causes imbalances. In his videos, John Gray states that when we’re stressed we use up progesterone. I found an article on Female Hormones and Weight Loss that substantiates this. (Weight and/or fat gain around the abdomen and hips is a symptom of too much estrogen) Simply put, stress causes a release of cortisol and the body uses progesterone to make cortisol. So stress does eat up progesterone. And that not good.
We need progesterone.
When we lose progesterone, we become estrogen dominant. Estrogen speeds up the brain, progesterone calms it down. So the more estrogen we have in our blood, the more our brain speeds up, causing us to worry and to think more which increases cortisol production which feeds off progesterone, which makes us speed up and produce more cortisol, and . . . I’ll stop there. It’s a nasty cycle.
So what does all this have to do with valentines?
Women have a hormone that reduces stress. Oxytocin. This is fabulous news. You probably want to know how you get some. Well, it’s easy enough. We celebrate Valentines day. Romance is a super oxytocin producer. Even the anticipation of romance releases oxytocin. Even a hug releases oxytocin.
Want even more oxytocin? Prevention.com discusses 10 ways to increase your oxytocin production. But here’s an interesting quote: ‘Watching an emotionally compelling movie makes oxytocin surge 47%. Why? Our brains process the plot and characters as if they were in the room with us, Dr. Zak says.’
I don’t know about you, but I get much more involved in plot and characters when reading a novel than watching a movie.
So to balance your hormones, I’m suggesting you stop what you’re doing and read a romance or any novel that engages your emotions. Read it out loud to your partner. Do it for good health!
Wishing you a romantic valentine’s day filled with surging oxytocin!
If you’re looking for a fix, please join me on Sunday, Feb. 17th from 2 – 4 for a book signing and romance reading at Timothys, 321 Lakeshore Rd. E. Oakville. Map here.