The connection between oxytocin and happiness
If all you need really is love, then oxytocin may be where it’s at.
This neurotransmitter is categorized as one of the four “happiness chemicals” (in addition to dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins) and is known for its link to feelings of love and connection.
Oxytocin is created in the hypothalamus gland and released by the pituitary gland. It’s a chemical messenger, relaying information throughout the body, particularly when it comes to reproduction, bonding, and even giving.
Known as the love hormone, oxytocin is released during events such as:
- birthing (sending signals for the body to start contractions)
- infant/mother bonding (a feeling of attachment through breastfeeding, cuddling, and caretaking)
- romantic relationships
- connecting with others
- giving to others/showing compassion
When thoughts and actions of love are present, this neurotransmitter is released and can result in higher levels of happiness.
To increase oxytocin in your body, try:
- holding hands with your children or spouse
- having sex
- cuddling with a pet
- helping someone
- offering kind words of encouragement and/or compliment to someone
- giving to others
- being in the moment and playing with your kids, talking with your spouse, or
- enjoying a meal together without interruption
- ensuring your body is digesting nutrients properly, specifically amino acids as they are the building blocks to oxytocin
- oxytocin nasal spray
Small acts can make a big impact on feelings of love. Take, for instance, the story of 33-year-old Cami Walker and her prescription of 29 gifts.
Cami was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and dealt with debilitating symptoms and negative thinking after this discovery.
During this time, she was given a unique “prescription” from friend and African medicine woman, Mbali Creazzo. Creazzo suggested that Cami give any type of gift to others over 29 days with sincerity and appreciation in order to boost her connection with others, sense of love, and overall state of happiness.
Cami’s experience was wondrous and yours could be, too. Try giving something of yourself over the next month and take note of how you feel, what you experience, and how it changes you.
Is it time to bond with your kids more? Spend quality time with your spouse? Help out a neighbor? Compliment your coworker?
Think about how you can weave these loving behaviors into your daily life and reap the reward of more happiness.