Oxytocin is known as the love hormone. It helps babies bond with their mothers. It is released during childbirth and breastfeeding. When fathers are holding and caring for their babies through touch or cuddling oxytocin is released for both the baby and the father. Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and intimacy can all trigger oxytocin production, which can strengthen healthy attachment in relationships. These effects have led oxytocin to be grouped with the other happy hormones -hormones that are known to have a positive impact on mood and emotions.
12 things you can do to naturally increase the production of oxytocin in the brain:
Research has found that dogs can impact the body as well as the mind. Kids who grow up with a pet are less moody and anxious, have higher levels of self-esteem, and are likely to be healthier and more physically active. However, not all adults are pet lovers. Some adults have allergies to different animals or resistance to all the cleanup and care that a pet requires. When trying to decide if a pet is right for your family you will want to make sure that everybody is on board.
If a pet is right for your family there can be added benefits for everyone involved. A Japanese study found that when a dog and a person stare into each other’s eyes, they both experience an increase in oxytocin. “It’s similar to the feedback loop you see between mothers and their babies,” says psychologist Rebecca Rialon Berry.
Therapy dogs can heal simply by their presence. Providing comfort is at the heart of what therapy dogs do in the myriad of spaces where they are called to action. People who work with emotional support dogs describe the “unconditional love” and psychological healing they bring to people who are suffering or faced with stressful situations, just by virtue of their presence.
It is important for us to be aware of our own emotional needs and take responsibility for where we are in regard to our moods. When we can turn to natural alternatives and build these activities into our regular everyday living, we find greater purpose and meaning in our lives and healthier relationships. We CAN make healthy choices by turning to uplifting music, physical exercise, being kind, or offering more hugs and touch to those we love. We can consciously and with intent “share the love” and truly feel empowered with our moods and our emotional health. You deserve to feel GOOD!
Taking care of yourself while helping others feel good can make a difference!