Stress Management: The Power of Storytelling
"Storytelling has always been at the heart of being human because it serves some of our most basic needs; passing along our traditions, confessing failings, healing wounds, engendering hope, strengthening our sense of community." - Parker J. Palmer
Storytelling is one of the most powerful, therapeutic, and ancient ways to actually establish connection within a community. From the beginning of time until today, you see how story telling has played an important role in our development as human beings. The Greeks had the stories of great warriors, such as Achilles, Alexander the Great, Africans and Indigenous tribes had folklore, while the Jewish community had stories of Moses and Jesus. Storytelling has been an integral part of society and will never go away.
As entrepreneurs storytelling increases sales, brand awareness, and even enhances customer loyalty. But do you know that storytelling is actually a form of stress management as well. In a program called Alcoholics Anonymous, which is an intervention based program to help people abstain from alcohol and detach from its hazardous effects. They utilise story telling in order to inspire and motivate others to endure through their recovery so that they can break the bonds and strongholds alcohol has placed on them. This happens because story telling releases a hormone within your brain called Oxytocin.
Oxytocin has various nicknames called the "love hormone", "cuddle hormone" because of its various properties. According to Harvard Health, (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/oxytocin-the-love-hormone), this hormone is produced in your hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Oxytocin has been connected with the feeling of empathy, trust, security, and is a building block of making us feel deepened relationships and connections.
Pictured above, is my beautiful and extremely wise Mom, who recently turned 62 this past August 3rd, so happy birthday once again. She always used story telling in our household with me and my brother whenever times were hard and strenuous to change our moods. This stimulated positive emotions within us and gave us the ability to cope with whatever circumstance which came our way. It didn't matter if it was financial stress, relational stress, family stress, workplace stress, she had a story for everything and these stories carried us through the storms.
For example, whenever we have financial distress she always brings up my upbringing in Scarborough, Ontario. My mom was overqualified for nearly all of her jobs, yet she was still able to provide food on the table, clothes on our back, and a roof over our head. She always used to come home and tell me and my brother that we didn't have enough, but we couldn't believe her because our lives were functioning normally and we were having fun. Everything seemed normal, but the way she handled the stressors of lack of sufficient employment was phenomenal. One cause of her success during this time is portrayed by a sign which we had hanging in our living spaces after that, which is the serenity prayer coined by a Lutheran Theologian. "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Therefore, whenever times became hard this story and quote would always come up and it would be a sign for us to know whatever circumstance were under the stress is manageable and we can endure.
Overall, story telling is as ancient as trees and have been with us from the beginning of time. Therefore, this is another form of stress management and tactic you can use whenever you are undergoing stressors in your daily life chronic or acute. Hope you enjoyed the blog, stay tuned for tomorrow!! Peace!! :)