Oxytocin is a hormone whose secretion helps an individual relax. Increased oxytocin levels are also associated with increased trust in relationships and bonding with your partner. This WellnessKeen article lists some of the most common ways to increase the oxytocin levels.
The word oxytocin is derived from the Greek words oxys and tokos which means “quick birth”. This is because the hormone helps in distension of vagina and cervix during labor.
If you thought a cherubic Cupid shooting invisible love arrows was the reason why your heart went pitter-patter every time you watched that cute-looking guy at school walk past, then you were absolutely wrong. Not that I have any intention of putting Cupid out of work, but as researchers and scientists have ascertained, our feelings of falling in love are all linked to the “love hormone” oxytocin.
All About Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a neurohypophysial hormone that has antianxiety effects that helps in relaxation and reducing blood pressure. It increases pain threshold, and also promotes growth and healing. It helps in social interaction and incorporating trust in relationships. The hormone is released with a number of sensory stimulation like touch, smell and sounds. Physiological factors like doing good for others can also lead to a rise of the oxytocin levels.
For new mothers, oxytocin not only helps in facilitating birth but also allows the mother to bond with the newborn. Recent research has shown that this hormone is also linked to bonding with partners and other social relationships. It fosters trust and generosity in a person. So, can increasing the oxytocin levels in the body help in bonding with your partner, and allow you to become a better lover, parent, and a happier person? According to numerous studies that have been carried out to study its effect, this wonder hormone can actually do it.
10 Ways to Increase Oxytocin Levels
Hugging and Holding Hands
Couples can fire up their oxytocin levels by hugging, draping an arm around, or holding hands. The release of this feel-good hormone spikes every time intimate contact is made. This not only helps in relaxing a person but also helps in bonding with the person you love. Now you know why those long walks on the beach holding hands with your boyfriend felt so good.
Get a Massage
We know touching increases oxytocin levels, and a relaxing way to do so is by getting a great massage. Not only does it calm the mind and body but also helps in releasing all the undue stress.
Researchers have found that there is significant boost in the oxytocin levels when a person has an orgasm. Moreover, it was found that when a person is physically intimate with a person that he or she loves, the levels of oxytocin that are released during sex is much more.
It’s not just physical contact that has an effect on oxytocin levels. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that married women who thought about their husbands, released a quick dose of oxytocin.
Doing Enjoyable Activities
Doing what you love, whether it is busting a move with your partner or singing a karaoke, can trigger off oxytocin. Even thrilling activities like bungee jumping, or a roller coaster ride with your partner can increase the hormone level and help in building extraordinarily strong bonds.
Brisk walking, swimming and other physical activities work well to boost the oxytocin levels in the body. Yoga is also a great way to boost oxytocin. Of course, you do not need to stand upside down to do so, but simple meditation and breathing exercises like Pranayama. can help you achieve the same results as well.
Snuggling with Pets
Every pet owner knows how snuggling and petting a dog or cat makes you feel calm and relaxed. Now, there is a reason for it. Touching your pets, stroking their fur and holding them close can trigger oxytocin.
Treating Your Friends
Doing good, or gifting family members and friends can increase the oxytocin levels and make you feel really good. Sometimes, even calling your friends and talking to them helps in releasing oxytocin.
The smell of baked cookies, listening to the chirping of birds in the morning, or watching a sunset with your family are some of the familiar sights, sounds and smell that help in boosting the oxytocin levels. These comforting thoughts and memories relax the mind and help in keeping you stress-free.
Social Media to the Rescue
You might say, Facebook and Twitter has killed any meaningful personal relationship but researchers who have studied the effects of Facebook and Twitter on people have found their oxytocin levels to be quite high. Interaction with people is often a way to release the love hormone. While face-to-face meetings are great, interaction through social media also helps in releasing oxytocin.
Other factors, like listening to music and having good food also helps in raising the oxytocin levels. Forms of contact like stroking, kissing or cuddling can also elevate the oxytocin levels. It’s not just limited to couples. Mothers or fathers cuddling their babies can increase their oxytocin levels. Besides bringing people closer and strengthening relationships, high oxytocin levels lower the stress-hormone levels and brings down elevated blood pressure levels. So, use these simple tips to keep the oxytocin levels high, so that you feel calmer and socialize more easily.