Oxytocin is a hormone produced primarily in the hypothalamus and acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It plays a huge role in the female reproduction system during child birth and with lactation. But, the hormone is best known as the “love hormone” because of how it increases with touch and stimulation. This powerful hormone plays a huge role in relationships and how we partner up with others.
Here are 10 ways to increase oxytocin levels in your body:
1. Physical touch.
Hugs, kisses, and cuddling increase oxytocin levels quickly. As per WebMd a research on oxytocin and how men react to intimacy showed that under the influence of oxytocin, two areas of the brain responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure lit up when men saw their partner’s faces. But the sight of other women had the opposite effect, suppressing feelings of pleasure. Oxytocin triggers a reward system that activates and releases when we are in loving relationships. Physical touch is stimulating. Oxytocin is released during intimacy and for men it is only released when it is with someone they love.
2. Words of encouragement.
When we hear a compliment we feel good about ourselves. We believe we are being loved and held in high esteem. Oxytocin works on this level as well. The “feel good” hormone increases when we are caring and compassionate with another, or vice versa. Words have a powerful frequency. When we feel loved and we relate to it oxytocin increases. The same goes to giving a compliment to another. The kindness you put out into the world also increases oxytocin.
Everyone wants to feel acknowledged. We all want to know that we are being heard and accepted. Listening is an amazing way to increase oxytocin. When you are present with another you can feel the connection. Listen attentively. Put the phone down. Close the computer. Make time to be one-on-one with another. You will find a sense of reward that is priceless. Also, listening to music or something we enjoy releases dosages of the little hormone as well.
4. Smile and laugh.
Have you observed how kids play? They smile and laugh a lot. Whenever they are in that moment, they are releasing oxytocin. Smiling is contagious. It’s one of those things that you cannot help but return to another when it is geared at you. Research has shown that laughter and smiling improve health through many physiological changes. Most of the time it happens unconsciously. Happy people live for joyous moments. Their oxytocin is constantly being released. Laughter creates a sense of joy that is the biggest trade off in life.
5. Meditate and pray.
When you are clear-headed and relaxed your hormones are balance. Oxytocin increases when you are not under the fight or flight mode. Prayer and meditation allow the mind to detach from stress. It lowers blood pressure and allows the body to feel balanced. Mind, body and spirit find a way to connect. Make time for it at some point in the day. You can do it for five minutes anywhere.
Endorphins and oxytocin increase when we exercise. Oxygen travels to the brain and to other parts of our bodies. Exercise is not just for keeping your body in tact and functioning properly. The amount of hormones released to the brain are also beneficial. You don’t have to go to a gym. Walking around the block or doing gentle yoga can bring on these benefits as well.
Studies have shown that suppressing your emotions lowers oxytocin levels. Withholding your feelings and not dealing with them causes stress and other physical issues in the body. Your emotional state should be imbalanced with your spiritual and physical bodies. The release of tears allows the body to return to a state of calmness as oppose to holding on to anger or frustration.
We feel good when we give, volunteer and do for others. Give gifts, give your time, give to charity and give thanks. Gratitude is a huge factor on how we feel. Give of yourself and watch how great you will feel. Oxytocin produces the feeling of bonding with others. Giving is a form of human bonding. This is a natural and easy way to increase your oxytocin while helping another.
9. Get creative.
Creativity helps de-stress the mental mind. While you are creating you aren’t worrying or fearing anything. As you paint, draw, sew, journal, write, play an instrument, or anything that takes you out of a normal routine, you are allowing the good hormones to take over in the brain. Endorphins are released and oxytocin is charged up. Making time to use your talents is imperative to inducing joy.
10. Get a pet.
Animals have a way of calming us. You enter the house and your cat and dog are anxiously waiting for you to give them love. The same effect that oxytocin has on touching another person, works on petting your animals. Research shows that just touching your pets lowers your blood pressure and increases your oxytocin levels.