How to get oxytocin
It’s pretty easy especially now to feel down. And to be honest, it’s perfectly normal to have a bad day or two. You are certainly not alone. Many things can affect our moods and while at time, you may not feel in control of your feelings, you can enhance your mood and try to keep it in balance.
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone and neurotransmitter. It’s often called the “love hormone" or “cuddle chemical” because it plays a key role in the emotional bond between a mother and her child. It’s also released by both men and women when they are in love. But it isn’t just involved in loving relationships. It can also significantly affect the functioning of your brain and nervous system and impact your emotions day-to-day. Low levels of oxytocin in the brain are associated with several mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, social phobia, autism, schizophrenia, PTSD, tinnitus, anorexia nervosa, and borderline personality disorder. So, it is very important to ensure that you are getting the correct amount of oxytocin daily.
And while there are foods that can boost oxytocin, there are also other ways to also get those warm fuzzy feelings.
Chamomile: You can also increase oxytocin with herbs, such as chamomile. Chamomile is a medicinal herb that has been traditionally used for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. But it can also help you produce more oxytocin. Researchers also know that chamomile naturally increases oxytocin and lowers cortisol. In Asian stores, try to purchase the actual flowers known as Ju Hua in Chinese. Excellent Liver tonic and detoxifier too. Tea bags are bleached and contain toxic plastic chemicals. Please see my previous posts.
Magnesium: Researchers have found that the oxytocin receptor requires magnesium to function properly, and magnesium increases the action of oxytocin at the receptor. Make sure you’re eating magnesium rich sources of food on a regular basis, including spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dark chocolate and bananas. Epsom salt are another great way to increase your body’s intake of magnesium. Magnesium supplements in worst case scenario although I do not encourage it.
Go for a walk: Walking outside, as you might guess, is statistically correlated with higher levels of oxytocin. Well, you say, I can’t walk. I have meetings all day... I gave to watch my children. If you can, try to take a walking meeting or bring your tiny counterparts along with you. This helps you bond more with the person you are meeting/walking with, and you might even have an adventure along the way (guess what — scientific research shows that having an adventure with someone also releases oxytocin as well!
Just breathe!: When the vagus nerve is inflamed your breathing becomes more shallow. It’s fight or flight time! You are panicking. Your breath becomes quick. Stop it! Breathe deep. Let me tell you something: most people think “yoga” is only about all those exercises standing upside down and doing weird twists and things. In the Yoga Sutras, written in 300 BC, there are 195 lines divided into four chapters. In all those lines only ONE line refers to physical exercise. It basically says, “be able sit up straight.” That’s it.
Practice loving kindness: Loving-kindness meditation, or metta, is a meditation practice designed to enhance feelings of kindness and compassion for yourself and others. While meditating, you repeat positive phrases to yourself, think positively of other people, and direct well wishes and love towards them. For example, you could close your eyes, simply think about a friend of family member, and repeat over and over that “they are wonderful.” Simply repeat this thought to yourself over and over, while pushing away any other negative thoughts that arise. Researchers believe that you give yourself a boost in oxytocin when you do this and may even up-regulate oxytocin receptors.
Acupuncture: Research has shown that acupuncture can affect the synthesis, release and action of several neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, including oxytocin. Acupuncture also naturally increases dopamine, stimulates the vagus nerve and increases blood flow to the brain.
Give it away: Turns out that showing compassion in a visceral way like giving money is linked to higher levels of oxytocin. So, if you have it, give it. Giving money away is also a way of affirming to the universe your belief in abundance.
Turn on the tunes: Just lying down and listening to music releases oxytocin. That’s why women in labour are encouraged to listen to soothing music. Play the Qur'an.
Play with your pets: Animals have a way of calming us, and it’s because they increase our oxytocin levels. Research shows that just touching your pets lowers your blood pressure and increases your oxytocin levels. One study found that oxytocin levels increased in both humans and dogs after just five minutes of petting. This may explain the emotional bonding between humans and dogs. Even just staring into your dog’s eyes can trigger the release of oxytocin in the brain and increase your levels.