Oxytocin is part of why we feel loved, connected, and whole; learn how to increase its effect in your life!
Love is so much more than one hormone tickling its way through our synapses. It’s hundreds of different hormones, neurotransmitters, proteins, and the intricacies of cellular biology combining with the near-magical nature of consciousness to produce something mysterious that humanity craves. Despite how complex this biochemical dance truly is, the single hormone oxytocin is still a big part of why we feel connected, loved, and whole. And here are a few easy ways to increase its effect in your life.
Giving and receiving hugs is one of the easiest ways to boost your oxytocin levels, especially if the hugs are heartfelt and genuine.
Generosity lowers stress hormones and helps us release the feel-good hormones that give us those joyful warm fuzzies. Donate to charity, tip well, praise another human being, give of your time or talents, and reap the happy rewards.
Being trusted is one powerful way to release oxytocin. Trust is usually earned by giving it away. Learn to trust others, and they will trust you.
Real conversation can help you create more oxytocin, but we’re not talking about small talk here. You need to forge bonds. Try getting to know someone deep down and share more of yourself, too.
Stress hormones interfere with the feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Walking, especially in nature, reduces stress and makes room for happiness and joy.
Petting a fluffy animal can release a great deal of oxytocin. This is one reason pets are used as treatment for loneliness and depression. The power of touch doesn’t stop there. Massage pumps out massive amounts of oxytocin. Cuddling, kissing, and sex do too, but more so if you truly care for the other person involved.
Holding in those tears is another way you hold on to stress hormones that interfere with oxytocin. Let them flow when you feel them coming on.
Soothing music also beats down stress hormones to open room for the happier ones. Choose music that you love or speaks to you for more effect, even if it isn’t the typical soothing style. That tingle you feel when you listen to something that truly resonates with you is your nervous system responding.
Real, deep connections with other people is a healthy way to release oxytocin. It doesn’t have to be in person to make a difference. Reach out to someone you know online, reconnect with old friends, or sent a note to someone you care about, digitally or with pen and paper.
Smiles and laughter help reduce stress and release endorphins. You should get a dose each and every day.
If you want to reduce the amount of stress in your life, it doesn’t get much better than meditation. Quiet reflection, deep breathing, and focusing on the moment helps you let go of worry for the future and anxiety.
There is little that is more human than the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. This unique ability also creates a strong bond between two different souls and releases a good amount of oxytocin. Develop your empathy through practice. Reading fiction is a good start, but then bring it into the real world by reaching out when someone feels sad, angry, or alone. It lifts both people up.
There are no foods that contain oxytocin, but shared meals with loved ones let the good hormones flow. If you need a boost, a decadent, silky square of dark chocolate can activate some of the same pathways as human contact and give you a hit of oxytocin.
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