‘Oxytocin connects us to people. Oxytocin makes us feel what other people feel. And it’s easy to cause people’s brains to release oxytocin. Let me show you. Come here. Give me a hug.” ~ Paul J. Zak.
With Valentines Day around the corner let’s talk about an incredibly powerful, health-giving chemical that’s fundamental for life and love and is so simple to activate!
The love hormone a.k.a. the cuddle chemical – Oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter (gives signals) in the brain. The hormone’s influence on our behavior and physiology originates in the brain, where it’s produced and is then released into the bloodstream. Like antennas picking up a signal, oxytocin receptors are found on cells throughout our body and makes us feel good.
In women, oxytocin is released during labor, facilitating birth and breastfeeding and it is released by both men and women during sexual intercourse.
The number one way of acquiring oxytocin, is through skin-to-skin contact with another person i.e. simply with touch and closeness. Even having a meal with other people can elevate our oxytocin levels.
‘Oxytocin has a powerful effect on infants, but brings greater bonding and mental and physical health for everyone’.
With stress being a major contributor to illness it makes sense to consciously try raising our oxytocin levels on a daily basis or just taking a daily dose of hugs!
It really is the love hormone and love… is fundamental for human life. How’s your oxytocin?
Touch on our bodies, along with positive social interactions supports increases in oxytocin levels and we don’t need to be in an intimate relationship to produce oxytocin.
It’s incredible that with simple touch and engagement with others we have the power to protect ourselves from disease.
Feelings of love/connection, a sense of belonging is one of our most basic human needs. It makes sense that if we don’t have regular touch and love in our lives, we are not going to live our fullest and happiest lives.
As a Robbie Williams fan his song ‘Feel‘ is a great reminder. Have a listen.
When we get busy we forget to slow down enough to enjoy touch and connection with those that are near and dear to us. It’s easy to do, but it’s not healthy and it doesn’t feel good. Slow down and enjoy touch, it’s imperative to life and love.