I attended an awesome talk this morning given by Andrew and Sarah Shoesmith from Peterhouse on the importance of outdoors experiences on our children’s development. They spoke about the character traits that these experiences inspire in our children – trustworthiness, fortitude, temperance, respect, grit, empathy and the like. Traits that are more and more lacking in today’s humanity. Traits that are forged through tough times, teamwork and overcoming personal difficulties and fears.
They also spoke about the biological effects of these experiences, and this is the part that hit home to me today most of all. Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin are hormones produced in our body which are essential for our wellbeing – they’re known as the “Feel Good Hormones” and are responsible for building relationship bonds, trust, and making us feel important. In today’s hurried world where physical exertion, physical contact, relationship and reward are surpassed by something as simple as the Dopamine hit of the whatsapp message tone on our cellphones, the stimulation and release of these hormones can be seriously low. Without these hormones being stimulated in healthy ways, we became lethargic, less goal oriented, depressed and unable to sleep. Is that resonating with anyone, or is it just me?
So how do we get our “hits” in a healthy and consistent way? How do we make sure we’re primed for success; energised and driven as we’re made to be? Teamwork. Goal achievement. Overcoming fears. Acknowledgment by your tribe. Relationship and significance within your community. All these things activate the release of these “Feel Good” hormones. If it’s really that easy to make sure our team members are primed for success…..then doesn’t that give us the motivation we need to consider how we can stimulate their serotonin and oxytocin levels this week? If you’re not the hugging type, then a little acknowledgement can go a long way…
by Christen Killick
11th June 2018