Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” or a “cuddle chemical” because it helps you feel closer to people. It's released in response to physical affection like sex, stroking, and cuddling — which is one of the reasons why so many people with depression find themselves craving that kind of contact. So, this article looks at 8 ways you can boost your oxytocin levels naturally.
1. Hug someone
Hugging increases oxytocin by triggering a cascade of events in the body that ultimately lead to the release of this hormone.
What happenes when you hug someone, signals are sent from your brain to your pituitary gland, which then sends out pulses that tell your hypothalamus to release oxytocin into your bloodstream. This can cause a sense of well-being and happiness, encourage bonding and improves your mood — all of which are beneficial for health and longevity.
In addition to boosting your mood, hugging has been proven to have numerous other benefits such as reducing inflammation in the body, improving sleep quality and reducing stress levels.
2. Write down 5 things you're grateful before going to bed
When you're depressed, you may feel like it's impossible to find any good in your life. But writing down 5 things you're grateful for before going to bed each night can simply alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Simply because this practice can help increase oxytocin naturally for people with depression as this practice helps increase happiness and reduces stress. This leads to better sleep and more energy during the day, which can help improve your overall mood.
Moreover, when you write down 5 things you're grateful for before going to bed each night, it also allows you to reflect on all the good things in your life and reminds yourself that they exist—even if they don't seem like much at the time. This also helps remind yourself of all the positives in your life and gives them more meaning than they would have otherwise had.
In fact, research says that gratitude is a powerful emotion that helps us feel connected to others and ourselves, which leads to greater overall happiness and well-being.
Yoga is an ancient practice that has been shown to have a number of health benefits. This exercise can be done with your friends, family or even with your partner.
The physical movement increases serotonin levels in the brain, which helps to reduce stress and anxiety—two common causes of depression. When you do yoga, your body also releases endorphins, which can help you to feel less stressed and more relaxed.
On top of that, the act of breathing deeply helps your body release oxytocin, which helps you to feel happier and more connected with yourself and others. Since,yoga is also the time where you can focus on yourself and what is happening in you.
Yoga also helps increase blood flow to the brain, which can help improve the way you think about things.
4. Get a massage
Massages are beneficial because they increase blood flow throughout your body, which means more oxygen and nutrients get delivered to your brain. This helps boost your overall cognitive function, including memory retention and recall. A massage can also reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins—natural painkillers produced by the body—into your bloodstream.
More importantly, massages can also increase levels of oxytocin in your body as they stimulate nerve endings on the skin surface of your face and neck. The nerves release this hormone into the bloodstream where it travels to various parts of the brain—including areas involved with mood regulation like the amygdala and hippocampus—promoting feelings of happiness, calmness, security and attachment toward others (which is why hugs make us feel better).
This also increases oxytocin because the massage therapist will use their hands to touch the body in specific ways that increase the amount of oxytocin released by the brain.
5. Pet a dog or cat
When you pet a dog or cat, they begin to release the bonding hormone oxytocin, which helps people with depression to feel more connected. In addition, the act of petting a dog or cat can also help them to release serotonin and dopamine—the neurotransmitters that make us feel happy—which can contribute to an overall feeling of well-being.
It’s important to note that it's not just about looking at cute animals on the internet. It's about actually interacting with them, getting down on their level, making eye contact with them, and of course petting them.
Aside from that, researchers found that people who spent time with pets had also lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who didn't. They also had lower stress levels than those who didn't have pets.
6. Eat chocolate
Chocolate contains anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid that mimics the effects of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) without causing a high. This chemical is known for triggering the release of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that give people feelings of pleasure and happiness.
Eating chocolate can also help increase oxytocin naturally because of its high phenylethylamine content. Phenylethylamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good when we eat it—and it's also found in chocolate!
So next time you're feeling down or stressed out, try snacking on some chocolate instead of reaching for alcohol or prescription medication. You'll feel happier and more relaxed by boosting your natural oxytocin levels this way! However, you should eat chocolate in moderation because eating too much can lead to gaining weight.
7. Cuddle with your partner
While cuddling with your partner can be a great way to get closer and strengthen your bond, it can also help with depression symptoms in a surprising way: by increasing the levels of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin doesn't just make us feel good—it also stimulates the production of endorphins which provide pain relief!
On top of that, the more time you spend together cuddling will increase your chances at having a better relationship throughout life together as well as having a happier life too!
So if you're feeling down because of depression symptoms or even just general stressors in life, try getting some extra cuddle time with your partner!
8. Listen to music
Music is a great way to soothe the soul and increase positive feelings in the body. It has been shown that listening to music can help people feel better and even reduce anxiety.
When people listen to music that they enjoy, it triggers activity in their brains' reward centers—the parts that control motivation and emotion—causing them to feel good about themselves and others around them.
On top of that, when we feel connected to other people through listening to music together or sharing our favorite songs with each other, it helps us form stronger bonds with them. This connection makes us feel more secure in those relationships which can help reduce symptoms related to depression such as isolation and loneliness.
Generally speaking, there is not one best way to increase your levels of oxytocin naturally. What you can do is find what works for you. Understanding how your brain works and knowing how to manage it can reap huge rewards.
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