Oxytocin has been called the “love molecule,” “hug hormone” and a “cuddle chemical.” It is noted as a facilitator in childbirth and breast feeding, but its release into the bloodstream can also have an intense impact on emotional, cognitive and social behavior. It is believed oxytocin is a “feel good” initiator and is believed to strengthen trust, love and sex.
In other words, we should take a close look at this list 10 natural ways to increase oxytocin in your life.
Use the “L” word as often as you can.
It might drive everyone around you crazy, but the more you say it, the better you’ll feel about them and yourself. As a “love molecule,” oxytocin plays a major part in the biological system that allows us to feel and express affection.
They may only be words, but saying “I love you” is easily the most important thing you can do on this list for releasing oxytocin and putting meaning into your daily life.
The importance of touch.
Do you know when we release our highest levels of oxytocin? During sex, the ultimate contact. But being touched doesn’t always have to be physical.
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Many people are known to not have the capacity to enjoy touch or being touched and are still able to manage long-term relationships. Intimacy is a functionality that can strengthen the time you spend together. It is also something we miss the most when we don’t have it.
Become smarter through exercise.
Brain neurons are actually stimulated by physical activity. This stimulation creates brain cells with the capacity to withstand stress better than the brain cells in a body that does not exercise at all.
Even a 30 minute walk or a goal of 10,000 steps a day can be beneficial, helping to improve heart health, relieve stress and increase oxytocin levels.
Meditate at least twice a day every day without missing a day.
Activities like yoga increases flexibility, can help reduce weight, improves cardio and circulatory health, and strengthens bones, minimizing injury. Yoga also improves respiration, vitality and energy.
Meditation can develop a more balanced metabolism. These are critical components to better mental well-being, relaxation and the release of oxytocin.
Take it to the extreme.
Excitement – especially in groups – can generate good stress. We’re talking about taking a ride on an extreme roller coaster or jumping out of an airplane.
When you share these adventures, they create an immediate bond and level of trust with the people around you. Oxytocin levels have shown exceptional spiking when we engage in activities that let us release good stress.
Cater to a pet.
This technique of releasing oxytocin works better if the pet belongs to you, but it can also be accomplished with someone else’s pet, or, better yet, by spending time at the local pet shelter where TLC is much needed.
Oxytocin levels increase when you’re caring for others and seeing their appreciation. There is no more simplified release of gratification than the one you’ll get from a dog being taken for a walk or a cat embracing your touch.
Take a nice long soak in the tub.
Hot water is an exercise for the blood system. It makes the heart work faster and makes it stronger. Hot water relaxes, relieves tension and soothes us both physically and mentally.
It can play a part in lowered blood pressure and reduces headaches. It’s also a good idea to share a hot bath from time to time, either with kids or a significant other. It’s good alone time you can’t get anywhere else.
Pay attention to people with you.
There is no better way to demonstrate care than giving someone your full attention. Unfortunately, we’re all very busy with our devices, stopping to see who emailed or just poked us.
Every time you look down or away, you lose the connection. Whether a friend or a loved one, listen and watch. You’ll not only be surprised at the appreciation in their eyes, you will build a rich relationship.
Enjoy social media.
While we cannot stress the importance of personal connection for releasing oxytocin, the digital world is a great place to share, create and learn. Wikis, blogs and social pages let us see a world beyond our own which can have an impact on our emotional ecosystems.
Reduced socioeconomic barriers allow us to personally reach worlds we could have only imagined a generation ago. It’s a social connect that lets us explore and, hopefully, learn to care more about people and the world.
Give gifts or do favors.
Receiving gifts or having someone do something that makes us feel good releases oxytocin as the deed makes us feel good. Doing the same is another way to generate the production of the love hormone. The key here is to do good without expecting anything in return. Bake cookies for a senior neighbor.
Spend a few hours a week at the library reading to children. Mentor at the local school. Surprise someone for no reason with a plant. There is no greater gift than giving and the way you make a person’s face light up will go a long way to feeling better about yourself and stimulating oxytocin.
Feeling good about yourself is the first good step toward wanting to be good toward others.
Oxytocin can help do that. Many of the tasks on the list will relieve stress and help you relax, allowing a greater stimulation of oxytocin. It is believed the more oxytocin one releases, the easier it will become to do so.
How will you increase your oxytocin hormone?
We are not suggesting you perform all the tasks here. If you could, we’d wonder when you’d find time for anything else. But some may fit into your lifestyle and others you may already be doing.
We do strongly recommend you find better ways to release stress. It will not only benefit your physical and mental well-being, it can naturally increase oxytocin, the feel good hormone, and amp up the way you feel about people everywhere you go.