Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, is much more than just a biological component. In fact, in addition to promoting social interactions, breastfeeding, caring, and childbirth, this hormone, with neurotransmitter functions, serves many more purposes. For example, it lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels, increases pain thresholds, and reduces anxiety.
As a matter of fact, oxytocin is one of the most powerful brain chemicals when it comes to modulating your behavior. Furthermore, as Professor Miranda Olff et al from the University of Amsterdam explain in the medical journal, Psychoneuroendocrinology, oxytocin is a promoter of mental health. Indeed, it generates an extremely positive response in the treatment of various psychological disorders.
However, it must be said that its external administration beyond the clinical field isn’t recommended. Nevertheless, you can increase your oxytocin production naturally. Therefore, what you need to do is find out how to enhance its presence in your body, hence benefitting from its effects.
In some situations, such as sexual intercourse or childbirth, oxytocin is released naturally.
There are many ways to increase your levels of this hormone in your body to reduce stress and feel better. Let’s see how.
What science has to say about increasing oxytocin production
It was in the 70s that neuroscientists began to show a great interest in oxytocin. They were particularly interested in its relationship with maternal behavior and social bonding in various species, including humans. Furthermore, they discovered that oxytocin has an effect beyond the mother-child relationship and it improves social behavior.
When the human being or other animal generates behavior that the brain understands as beneficial, it produces oxytocin and endorphins. In other words, the mechanism of its action is twofold. It determines your behavior but you can also make it appear with your actions and behaviors.
So much enthusiasm was generated by the findings concerning this hormone, scientists began to consider other possibilities. For example, they wondered whether giving or increasing oxytocin production in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could improve their sociability, openness, and emotional connection. However, a recent study conducted by the University of Seoul, reveals that to date there’s still no conclusive relationship in this respect.
Nevertheless, there’s absolutely no doubt that humans can naturally increase the production of oxytocin in the body. In fact, all positive, rewarding, and enriching behavior is rewarded with this molecule.
1. Physical contact
Oxytocin triggers an exceptional reward system every time you make physical contact with someone significant to you. For instance, it’s known that sexual intercourse increases oxytocin levels. In addition, hugs from friends or family, and cuddles with your children and even your pets are extremely gratifying for your brain.
2. Words of encouragement
When someone compliments, encourages, or comforts you, you feel good. It calms you and increases your feelings of well-being. In fact, their words of encouragement make you feel loved and valued. They also have another effect on you, they make you produce oxytocin.
Words are a powerful weapon. They make you and others feel good and can convey kindness, compassion, and love. Furthermore, they connect you with others and are a fundamental pillar in your social relationships.
3. Listen to others
Listening to others is an amazing way of increasing oxytocin. After all, everyone wants to feel recognized. To feel understood, accepted, and validated. It’s just one more essential component in daily life.
Therefore, it never hurts to remember the power of active listening. You should also make sure you always listen without judging. Also, don’t practice multitasking when someone requires your attention. Give a hundred percent attention to them. Your efforts will be worth it.
Meditation relaxes your body and mind. It allows you to become calm and balanced, thus reducing stress. This practice that has its roots in ancient times is becoming ever more population today’s society. Furthermore, the field of psychological practice already recognizes its benefits. Indeed, mindfulness is an approach that’s really widely valued and accepted.
In western culture, the word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio which originally indicated a type of intellectual exercise. In this sense, meditation is a valuable instrument to quench your fears and release oxytocin.
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
-Ma Jaya Sati Bhagvati-
Exercise doesn’t just keep your body healthy. With exercise and physical activity, endorphins and oxytocin increase. In addition, your blood is oxygenated and reaches your brain and other parts of your body with greater impulse and ease. You release a lot of hormones in this process.
To exercise and get all these benefits, you don’t have to go running, riding a bike, or to the gym if you don’t want to or can’t. In fact, going for a walk or doing moderate exercise at home is enough. This also releases adequate oxytocin.
“Crying activates the body in a healthy way”, claims Dr. Stephen Sideroff, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Indeed, crying acts as a release for your emotions, lowers your stress and cortisol, and increases your oxytocin levels.
Consequently, bottling up your feelings causes you stress and physical problems then begin to appear.
Crying is an act of expression and proper management of this energy. Think about how you feel after those times when you can’t seem to stop crying. You tend to feel calm and a sense of relief.
“Tears disinfect pain.”
-Ramón Gómez de la Serna-
7. Be generous by giving something to others
You feel good when you give. In fact, being generous and charitable, as well as offering your time to others in a selfless way, makes gratitude and connection with others flourish, releasing large doses of oxytocin.
Another generous gesture that releases oxytocin is giving a gift to someone from your heart. It doesn’t have to be a birthday or an anniversary or even any special occasion. What triggers the release of oxytocin in you is thinking of the other person lovingly and wanting them to be happy.
Food alone doesn’t provide you with oxytocin. That’s because it’s a nonapeptide that can only be produced by living organisms in your body. However, the fact that foods don’t contain this hormone doesn’t mean that they can’t help you increase it.
As a matter of fact, it’s believed that certain ingredients could stimulate and increase the production of oxytocin. For example, herbs such as rosemary, parsley, thyme, spearmint, and dill.
Another ingredient that helps increase the production of oxytocin is chocolate. Furthermore, it’s famous for its aphrodisiac powers.
As you’ve seen, increasing your oxytocin naturally isn’t complicated. It generally involves promoting your well-being and connecting with others in a genuine, affectionate, and respectful way. Give it a try.
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