Benefits Of Oxytocin And Ways To Boost It

The Love Hormone

I thought it’d be good to blog about the benefits of oxytocin, the “love hormone” for a special Valentine’s Week Brownie Bites! Oxytocin is a key hormone helping us bond with others, reduce stress, and sleep better.

Here’s my Brownie Bites takeaway for 3 ways to boost oxytocin:

👫 Touch
🌲 Get out in nature
🧘‍♀️ Meditate

Read on to learn about more ways to boost oxytocin—and to learn about its many benefits. When we focus on whole-body health, we are able to fully optimize our wellness!

Being in nature, meditating and yoga all boost oxytocin.

7 Benefits of Oxytocin

1. Connect With Others: Oxytocin is best known for helping foster a bond between a mother and her baby—it helps with labor too, by increasing uterine contractions and speeding up slower labors. This “love hormone” also helps us establish social relationships. Oxytocin may help reduce anxiety and reduces fear of social betrayal which can bolster our nerves for meeting new people.1

2. Fall in Love: According to Harvard Health. “Our bodies also produce oxytocin when we’re excited by our sexual partner, and when we fall in love. That’s why it has earned the nicknames “love hormone” and “cuddle hormone.” It helps men stay faithful and attached in romantic relationships.2

3. Be Kind to Others: Most research on the science behind why kindness makes us feel better has centered around oxytocin. “We all seek a path to happiness,” says Dr. Waguih William IsHak, a professor of psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai. “Practicing kindness toward others is one we know works.”  Being kind increases serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine—a power pack of goodness.

4. Reduce Stress: The love hormone has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol3 and it also dampens our perception of stress—meaning we cope with it better.4

5. Sleep Better: Penn Medicine found that sleeping with your loved one (that can include a pet!) boosts oxytocin. Combined with the fact that oxytocin reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), it leads to a better sleep.

6. Build Stronger Teams at Work: According to an HBR article, “The Neuroscience of Trust,” Oxytocin boosts empathy toward others, as well as instills a sense of purpose. This ties together well with building teams, based on trust and understanding, at work.

7. Boost Immunity: I’ve been sick all week with the flu. I guess I needed to up my oxytocin last week! According to Penn Medicine, “Oxytocin has the ability to undo cortisol’s effects and restore the body’s balance, improving immune function and your odds of fighting off viruses and infections.”

Are you sold on the benefits of oxytocin? Me too! Let’s go get some…

8 Ways to Boost Oxytocin

1. 👫 Touch–Massage, holding hands, and sex all boost oxytocin. The reason it’s sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical” is because its levels increase with physical touch, or during an orgasm.5

2. 🌲 Get out in nature–walk the dog, have a walk & talk with a friend, sit on a park bench, or do some forest bathing to boost both serotonin and our favorite peptide hormone. Between the happy hormone and the love hormone, it’s a mix of super awesome chemicals and the reason we often feel so relaxed and rejuvenated after being outdoors in nature.

3. 🐶 Pet your Pet: Cuddling with a pet boosts oxytocin–for them and for you.6

4. 🧘‍♀️ Meditate: Focusing on your breath and re-centering your mindset via meditation can boost oxytocin.7

5.🏃‍♀️ Exercise: We know exercise increases dopamine and serotonin, and recent studies link exercise—especially running and aerobic activity–to increased oxytocin8.
One study noted a jump in oxytocin levels measured in participants’ saliva after high-intensity martial arts training. Another study (in mice) showed increased oxytocin after running. 9

6. 🐦 Singing: Singing in groups has been shown to boost oxytocin. Concerts, church choir, or karaoke all help us connect.10

7. 🧘‍♀️ Yoga: Yoga practice which combines exercise and some meditative practices, is especially helpful when practiced in a group setting.11

8. 🎉 Community: Positive social encounters, community events, and social gatherings involving food boost the love hormone. There really is a link between breaking bread and building feel-good chemicals!12

Forest bathing boosts oxytocin, the love hormone

Feeling our best, sleeping better, and improving overall mood are all parts of wellness. We often focus on diet and exercise and forget some of the foundational tools to optimize our lives. I hope this blog is helpful–and just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend! Let me know if you have other tips for how to improve wellness and boost the love hormone! If you’d like to get 1:1 wellness coaching, book a session with me. It’s not just for perimenopause or midlife concerns–anyone seeking advice about lifestyle changes can benefit!

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