Oxytoxin is a hormone that is produced naturally by the body when a person is relaxed and safe. It is possible to stimulate and increase oxytocin levels through physical contact with hugs and massages, as well as by practicing good deeds, eating a healthy diet or adopting a pet, for example.
Oxytocin is found in both women and men, and is associated with a feeling of pleasure. It also aids in labor and breastfeeding, and is essential for improving interpersonal relationships and well-being. Optimal levels of oxytocin may reduce the chances of a psychological disorder, like anxiety.
So, the main ways to increase oxytocin are:
1. Physical contact
Physical contact in the form of hugs, massages, cuddling and caressing stimulates the production of oxytocin, which improves overall well-being. Intimate contact between partners is also a way of increasing the production of this hormone, as it is fundamental to the sensation of pleasure in sexually-related moments.
In addition, having deep friendships based on trust and love can be good for your health. This proximity to others simulates the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline, oxytocin and serotonin into the bloodstream, which are hormones responsible for the feeling of happiness and well-being.
2. Practicing good deeds
Being generous, honest and compassionate can increase the levels of oxytocin in the blood, as the brain interprets these attitudes as ways of inspiring confidence and good feelings in the body. This leads to increased production of this hormone.
Cultivating a positive emotional state stimulates not only the production of oxytocin, but also of other hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which are essential for feelings of happiness. This can also reduce the risk for depression and anxiety.
The sucking movement of a baby on the breast during the post-partum phase, when the woman feels relaxed, safe and confident about breastfeeding, has an immediate effect on the hypothalamus. This is a region of the brain capable of releasing oxytocin into the bloodstream.
4. Eating a balanced diet
Eating a balanced, healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, leafy greens and grains helps the body increase its natural production of oxytocin and other feel-good hormones. You should also include foods rich in vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin D and taurine in your diet. You can also consume natural teas that can reduce anxiety, such as chamomile and lavender. Check out herbs for anxiety that you can use to prepare soothing teas.
5. Adopting a pet
The presence of a pet in your daily life not only reduces cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, but also increases the levels of oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin in the blood. In addition to reducing anxiety and feelings of loneliness, living with an animal increases feelings of well-being and prolongs them for longer.