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posted 24 Aug 2010, 23:04 by Unknown user   [ updated 24 Aug 2010, 23:07 ]
It states on the Theory of Excellence's web site that the reward for being social is greater than the reward for being a winner. A reader has contacted me to ask why.

Winning a physical competition normally requires the body to elevate internal functions such as increasing heart rate, diverting blood to more vital organs, increasing the respiratory rate to get more oxygen from the atmosphere, breaking down glycog
en stored in the liver and muscle to get more glucose, whilst intelligence based tasks require an increase in brain power again requiring blood t o be diverted from other areas. Although both types of activities, when done in a positive state of mind rather than under stress or through anxiety, have positive effects on the body and are essential for health living, they can also have negative effects. Preparation for competition to get in the correct state of mind uses exactly the same hormones cortisol and testosterone as our body releases when under stress. Our body actually starts the primitive reaction of either flight or fight. Exactly the same state as stress and as we all know, 'stress kills'. Stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of a heart attack, contributes to infertility, and speeds up the aging process. What may not be as commonly known is that positive social interaction has exactly the opposite affect and actually promotes good health helping to extend life.

Why is this? Because, when we socialise our bodies release Oxytocin, which is the brains way of rewarding i tself. Oxytocin is known as the "cuddle" hormone and has powerful, health-promoting properties. It is released when we cultivate warm, loving, intimate relationships and is most potent when we combine touch with positive interactions. Here are some examples on how you can experience the benefits of this hormone: take care of a pet; hold hands, hug and kiss more; give and receive a backrub; or go for a massage.

So, although winning gives the greatest buzz and we get a higher sense of reward, in the long term taken too seriously this is also having a negative effect on our bodies. The social reward gained from a relationship only has positive effects. But balance, as ever, is key. We all need exercise to maintain our bodies and the feeling of victory is great - but don't let winning become the be all and end all. Realise that you are competing to improve your health and not just to win. Enjoy the participation more than the result!

If you have any questions regarding the Theory of Human Excellence (THE) or anything else related to human performance, please feel free to contact me via the 
contacts page on the web site.

Terry Wilcox

Theory of Human Excellence