Jan 9, 2017

Experiences of Oxytocin effect

A few days back, a video clip titled “What’s wrong with this generation?” was shared by a few friends in my FB timeline. It was a 15 min talk by Simon Senek on millennials - the passion with which he spoke and the way he listed down the reasons was just awesome. I then googled to get the full video and listened to his 1 hour talk on leadership. An absolute must-watch, I should say.

Though I have read his book “Start with Why”, I haven't listened to many of his talks. 2 days later, after listening to his thought-provoking talk on leadership, Youtube recommended me this conversation between Simon and Marie Forleo. The focus of the talk was on his latest book “Leaders eat last” - very powerful and insightful talk yet again. I have added this book to my reading list.

In this video, at 26th min, he talks about why we humans are designed to take care of each other.

“There is a chemical called oxytocin which is the chemical responsible for our feelings of love, friendship and trust. The person who does the act of generosity, giving of time or energy without expectation of anything in return, gets a shot of Oxytocin. The person on the receiving end gets a shot of Oxytocin. And even witnessing an act of generosity or kindness releases Oxytocin. It feels good to see somebody do something nice”.

While I was hearing this, I just paused the video to absorb what I heard. What an absolute truth it was! I have experienced all the three scenarios and started recollecting the moments from my recent past.

When I made a cup of dry ginger coffee and offered it to a friend who was sick, when I asked my daughter on her birthday to give a small token of thanks to my maid - these moments not only brought joy to the receiving person, but also to me - those positive vibes and feelings cheered up my mood for the entire day. These tiny acts are nothing when you look at the big picture. But as a firm believer in the phrase that “tiny drops maketh an ocean”, I persist at it in whatever way I can.

There were multiple moments when I was at the receiving end of kindness by friends and strangers. I had written a blogpost on one such experience recently. Last Friday, I received unexpected gifts of kindness from three different people. My mood was upbeat and I felt so energetic and grateful that evening. Multiple Oxytocin shots, I believe! :-)

I had indeed experienced similar feelings while witnessing the act of kindness. A friend and I had put up a food stall last January. There were two kids who didn’t have the money to pay for food but were interested in the muffins my friend had displayed. They didn’t ask her but were walking close to her table. She called out the two kids and offered them a muffin each. Seeing the joy on their faces brought a big smile on mine. I was neither the giver nor the receiver but a spectator of a kind act. It's been almost a year now and I still remember this incident vividly.

The world needs more kind acts - whether we are the giver, receiver or spectator, kindness will impact our happiness and others, causing a ripple effect.

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