Trust is important for good health

Posted on: 21 September 2015 by Lynda Shaw

Dr Lynda Shaw reveals how trust can play an important role in our everyday happiness and emotional wellbeing.

How trust is important for good health

Trust is part of our existence in many ways, much of which we are oblivious to.  We trust strangers with our lives on a daily basis, for example commuting to work on public transport or eating a meal at a restaurant, or a pharmacist recommending a medicine to us, all of which could in theory potentially put our lives at risk.

Most of us will have heard of oxytocin, commonly known as the ‘happy hormone’, produced by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Neuro-economist Professor Paul Zak discovered that there are simple ways to encourage the brain to release oxytocin. For instance, making eye contact, hugging someone or watching a highly emotional film can all trigger a surge of oxytocin through the body.  He explained that the ‘morale molecule’ was established over evolution to help humans work together in society, so when we are shown trust, oxytocin is released, sending a signal to the brain, motivating us to be trustworthy.

When it comes to starting new relationships, it’s not uncommon for people to be dubious and to raise questions about trust, if trust has been broken or mistreated before. Building trust in others also takes time and requires regular maintenance, but we can learn to reinforce trust and boost our confidence in others by letting go of our own fears a little as well.

Living with the mind-set where we are constantly avoiding certain situations in the fear that something may be taken away from us either physically or emotionally is stifling and exhausting. The more we can learn to trust in our own judgement, the more able we are to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.

In today’s world of business, a relationship based on trust with our clients, consumers or employees is more important than ever. Establishing your company’s reputation as trustworthy from the word go will inevitably attract clients to you whilst allowing them to place their utmost reliance and confidence in your ability to deliver and do a good job. When trust doesn’t exist in business, the sustainability and future success of that business is questionable.

Looking on from the perspective of a parent, watching your child transition into an adulthood is exhilarating as well as a frightening. Children growing into independent adults, old enough to make decisions and choices for themselves, means the control you once had is no longer possible and a parent’s interference is not always welcomed. Preserving your relationship might involve you taking a step back to create sufficient space for exploration and experiences to be discovered. Without a doubt, mistakes will be made along the way but trusting your children and making yourself available for open discussion without judgement is key.

According to developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, adolescence is a crucial time to figure out our identity and where we fit in society. Young adults failing to establish a sense of identity within society can run into problems such as role confusion or identity crisis.

Children who share a close bond with their grandparents will always remember the things that make their relationship special - whether it’s the big bear hugs from grandad, having treats before tea or grandparents being around when they’re unwell. Whatever the reasons may be, the foundation of the bond is built on love and trust including knowing that promises will not be broken and that they are secure and safe with their grandparents.

Trust is the root of all human connections, governed by all the exchanges we have with each other.  It would be very difficult to live a life without trust, but as Ernest Hemingway said, ‘The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.’

www.drlyndashaw.com

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