Part 1: Oxytocin – the love hormone
We’ve heard the word ‘oxytocin’ from our own pregnancy or others we know who have been pregnant. It helps to encourage and maintain contractions during labor. It’s also part of the mother-child bonding, created in those early days and over a lifetime.
When it plummets, that’s when we hear about post partum depression, the mother not wanting anything to do with the baby, and a lack of those gushing emotions new mothers normally have.
Enough of this pregnancy talk. How does it help outside of pregnancy? Oxycontin enables strength, trust, warmth, generosity, courage, and empathy.
Created in the hypothalamus of your brain, oxytocin is a hormone that when released, creates a blissful feeling. A feeling like that warmth when someone rubs their hand over your arm or back – that tingling that happens throughout your entire body? That’s oxytocin at work. When you haven’t seen someone in a long time and you give a deep embrace and feel it in your whole body? That’s the big O. And of course, the other big O releases this lovely hormone, as well. Those late night booty calls to that ex that you just can’t stop hooking up with. Is it the person or the oxytocin release you just can’t quit?
So, without giving birth, or booty calling people who belong in the past, how can you get an increase of it on your own? Glad you asked. Here are some ways to boost it naturally:
Solo: Exercise, singing, body tapping, meditation, self massage or going for a massage, masturbation, bubble bath, listening to a stand up special or watching a sitcom.
The more the merrier: Doing all of these things in a group setting increases the release, by adding the bonding element. Try a group choir or sing-a-long with friends. Group exercise or hikes. Have sex, hug, cuddle, make eye contact. These don’t have to be in a romantic situation per se. Well, to each her own with the sex. Friends with benes? I’ll take it. Back to a clean mind…Gift giving. Holding hands. Anything that involves touch with another being. Paul Zak, PhD recommends eight hugs a day!
Furry bliss: Your pet can also benefit from a boost along with you. Petting, massage, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Telling her what a good, good girl she is, and she, in return will lick your palms until her little tongue nearly falls off. That’s what our Big Chihuahua does to return the favor.
Eats: You can also enhance it by eating foods such as figs, avocados, spinach, watermelon, and green tea to name a few.
What happens if you over indulge in all of these things? First get tested for STDs. Kidding (maybe?). Too much oxytocin can create the opposite effect. Fear, mistrust, living within a bubble or group, not wanting to meet new people, jealousy, and suspicion, as well as igniting fear-based memories.
How do you know if there is a lack of oxytocin in your body? Anger, addiction, difficulty achieving orgasms, overeating, depression, anxiety, isolation, and avoiding social situations are some of the symptoms. Stress and/or holding grudges and bottled resentments toward others can plummet your supply.
Without being happy, we only put in 50% of our efforts toward our passions. Our self esteem decreases, and we tend to isolate. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. Get up off your bum, put on some high energy beats, and move that body. Exercise. Take it out into the sunshine. Call a friend. Laugh. Get laid. Watch a comedy show. Most importantly, take care of You.