Pick Up The Phone…Just Because!

Shelley BaurCommunicating, RelationshipsLeave a Comment

What better time to pick up the phone and say you care, than on Valentine’s Day? If it matters that science says so, please read on.

Dr. Cary Nelson sent this to me, and I found it worthy of posting because of his carefully constructed, scientific analysis of why personal, heart-to-heart communication is radically beneficial.

Today, I want to ask you something personal…

When was the last time you picked up the phone to call a family member or an old friend ‘just because?’
Now, I’m not asking to be nosy.

I’m asking because research shows talking on the phone with a loved one can have a huge and unexpected positive impact on your health!Here’s how the surprising study worked…

Scientific Benefits

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers asked three groups of preteen subjects to do something that would be stressful for just about anyone

Give a speech or solve math problems in front of a group of people. Yikes!

Their levels of cortisol — commonly referred to as the ‘stress hormone’ — were tested before and after the test. And sure enough, the levels were significantly elevated afterward.2

No surprises there, right? Now, here’s where things get really interesting…

Each group was given a different method of coping after the stress test: Watch a 75-minute video, receive physical comfort from a loved one, or get a phone call from a loved one.

As expected, cortisol levels in the video group continued to rise after the test…

While cortisol levels fell sharply in the ‘affection’ and ‘phone call groups.’

But, unexpectedly, levels of OXYTOCIN — a stress-relieving hormone sometimes called, ‘the love hormone’ — rose in the group that received the phone call… by about the same amount as those who received physical comfort!3

This absolutely shocked researchers. Until this study, oxytocin levels were thought to rise only in response to physical contact.

So why is this important?

Well, in addition to relieving stress, OXYTOCIN has been shown to:

  • Lower your blood pressure 4
  • Improve your trust 5
  • Boost your self-esteem 6
  • Even assist in healing because of its anti-inflammatory properties7

…So the idea that a simple phone call could raise oxytocin is a big deal.

But I can’t say I’m surprised. Reading this study reminded me of my days at New York Medical College…

There were times, after a long stressful week, a simple call home was all I needed to make me feel rejuvenated.

Sometimes I called my parents, sometimes my uncle, sometimes an old friend I’d known since kindergarten. It didn’t matter — just saying hi, even for 5 minutes, had a huge effect.

That’s why today, I want to encourage you to pick up the phone, and call someone you love. It’ll be great for their health… and yours!

Valentine’s Day, the Perfect Time to Pick Up the Phone

(By the way, if you’re feeling a bit awkward about calling someone out-of-the-blue, remember — Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! That gives you the perfect excuse to surprise them and share how much you care.)

Just give a quick ring, share the love, and you’ll be amazed at how much your spirits are lifted.”

Dr. Cary Nelson is the Director of Science & Nutrition for Probiotic America.

After you take Cary’s advice, pick up the phone and call your loved one, let me know your results, please.


1Seltzer L, Ziegler T, Pollak S. Social vocalizations can release oxytocin in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2010;277(1694):2661-2666. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0567.

2ibid, 1.


4M P. Cardiovascular effects of oxytocin. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2002. Accessed February 10, 2017.

5Kosfeld M, Heinrichs M, Zak P, Fischbacher U, Fehr E. Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature. 2005;435(7042):673-676. doi:10.1038/nature03701.

6Saphire-Bernstein S, Way B, Kim H, Sherman D, Taylor S. Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2011;108(37):15118-15122. doi:10.1073/pnas.1113137108.

7Gouin J, Carter C, Pournajafi-Nazarloo H et al. Marital behavior, oxytocin, vasopressin, and wound healing. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010;35(7):1082-1090. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.01.009.

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