Have you ever wondered why it feels so good to get a warm hug? Here’s a hint: it has to do with your hormones.
Oxytocin is referred to as “the love hormone” or “the cuddle hormone” because of the sense of bond we feel after its release. Childbirth, breastfeeding, and sex all trigger oxytocin production – and so do simple actions such as hugging and cuddling. Women usually have higher levels of oxytocin than men, and it has physical and emotional effects that impact our social behavior, connection with others, and feelings of trust.
Since we live in a technology-driven world, devices can keep us from experiencing connection. However, it’s important to connect with others and enjoy hugs, hand-holding, massages, and other forms of touch to boost oxytocin levels naturally. The best part is there’s no cost to these methods and you’ll elevate your mood. Here are seven ways to increase oxytocin naturally.
1. Get a Facial
A restorative facial is pampering and relaxing. You can do this on your own with an at-home self-facial or get one from a natural-product-minded esthetician. If you’re going the DIY route, you can also recruit a loved one to join in and fully embrace relaxation and connection. Afterward, enjoy relaxation time with soothing music, journaling, and breathwork.
2. Give or Get a Massage
Massage has many benefits such as stress relief, overall relaxation, and promoting sleep health. After getting a massage, many people feel less stressed, feel less anxiety, and have an improved mood. You can get a massage done by a professional by a loved one. Oxytocin levels will increase for not only you but also the person doing the massaging. This is a great example of how important touch is.
3. Enjoy Sexual Intimacy
Take advantage of the “afterglow” … Sexual intimacy that results in orgasms is one way to increase oxytocin levels. And when you enjoy it with a romantic partner, it will help you feel more connected to each other.
4. Cuddle or Hug Someone
Sex is not the only way to boost oxytocin levels with physical intimacy. Cuddling, hand-holding, and hugs are all beneficial, whether it’s with a romantic partner, your best friend, or your child. the best part is it’s not only you who will benefit from these actions – you both will!
5. Pet Your Dog
Good news for dog lovers – petting and cuddling with your dog is an easy way to increase your oxytocin levels. This is one reason snuggling with your pets is so comforting when you are upset. It’s also one reason therapy dogs are so beneficial and used in stressful settings. Research has also shown that not only humans experience these benefits. Dogs also experience a boost in oxytocin, creating a win-win situation.
6. Give Back
Practicing a random act of kindness or another selfless behavior can make you feel happier and lift your spirits. Living life generously and seeing others benefit is an easy way to release more oxytocin. Many people feel that an act of kindness has to be majestic to make an impact; however, this is not true. You don’t need to have millions of dollars to give back to others. One simple act of kindness can create a ripple effect.
Here are some simple ways to brighten someone else’s day and boost their oxytocin and yours!
- Write a letter or card to a friend or family member
- Help someone with a chore
- Pay for someone else’s morning coffee while you are in line
- Lend someone a book that you love
- Call someone who is lonely
- Donate to your favorite charity
As you can see, most of these are simple gestures that will make anyone on the receiving end smile.
Although this one doesn’t involve intimacy or physical touch, exercise is another way to boost oxytocin levels. Physical activity increases endorphins and oxytocin which makes you feel good. Plus, exercise is good for all health systems and your mental well-being. To get these benefits, you do not have to spend hours in the gym. The important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy. Going for a walk in nature is a simple way to release oxytocin and improve your mood. You can also go for a run, ride a bike, practice yoga, go for a swim, and do many other activities.
Overall, it’s important to incorporate ways to connect with others into your life. Most of us spend so much time worrying about work deadlines or worrying about making other people happy that we forget we have our own needs – especially women. So use these methods above to create meaningful shifts in your hormones and better your mood.
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