According to the survey, the two main reasons for calling your mother

Hearing Your Mother’s Voice Has a Unique Calming Effect – How It Affects Cortisol and Oxytocin

You had a bad day. Maybe your boss yelled at you, you spilled your coffee, you lost your keys, or you forgot to pay the bill. When life gets you down, sometimes you need your mother.

After all, how many times have you heard your mother say how glad she is to hear from you? If mom had a job, you’d probably talk every day. However, research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that you may be the one who benefits from hearing your mother’s voice (Seltzer, Prososki, Ziegler, & Pollak, 2012).

The researchers wanted to determine whether certain forms of communication with the mother were better than others. They looked at three types of communication (face-to-face, phone, or text message) to determine which was more helpful. They were also interested in determining whether there was anything uniquely valuable about hearing your mother’s voice.

Talking to the mother after a stressful situation

The researchers asked 68 young girls between the ages of 7.5 and 12 to experience the stressful situation of solving math and language tasks for 15 minutes in front of an audience. (Imagine for a moment what it would be like to count down from a number like 7,648, but stand in front of a panel and if you make a mistake, go from nine to nine within a certain amount of time. You have to start all over again!)

The researchers randomly assigned the girls to do one of four tasks for another 15 minutes: (a) wait alone without contact with the mother, (b) talk to their mother face-to-face, (c) talk to their mother on the phone. contact their mother by phone or (d) text.

The researchers then measured the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in their saliva and oxytocin (a hormone associated with bonding, trust and empathy) in the girls’ urine.

Conclusions: Verbal communication is better than texting

But which team performed better?

The two groups that were able to talk to their mothers (either in person or on the phone) had higher oxytocin levels (a good thing) than the texting and no contact group.

There was no difference in oxytocin levels between girls who spoke to their mother face-to-face and those who spoke on the phone, suggesting that the benefit came from hearing the mother’s voice.

When girls texted their mothers, their salivary cortisol levels were the same as those who didn’t communicate with their mothers at all, meaning that texting was no different from no communication, at least in terms of reducing stress levels.

Overall, research shows that simply communicating with your mother is not enough. One message is not enough. In contrast, hearing your mother’s voice has its own calming effect. So the next time you’re stressed about school, work, family, friends, or life…call your mom.

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