Last updated March 10, 2022
Hugging, cuddles, kisses. All the intimate goodness our bodies and minds crave is produced by the neurotransmitter and happiness hormone, oxytocin.
You’ve probably heard this hormone called by other names—the love drug, the love hormone or the feel-good hormone. While these aren’t the official names, they’re quite descriptive and accurate on how this happiness hormone works within the body.
Lust, love and pleasurable touch sensations are all part of the orgasmic effects this hormone creates. Produced in the hypothalamus, oxytocin has a variety of functions within the brain and body.
For the female reproductive system, research shows this happiness hormone is released during sexual intimacy, breastfeeding and during childbirth.
Assisting in the reproductive system and sexual activity isn’t all this powerful neurotransmitter does. Many notable sources suggest oxytocin plays a huge psychological role associated with empathy, trust and relationship building. It can also heavily impact social behavior, emotions, promote relaxation, memories and influence other social acts.
If you’re looking for an easy way to release your happiness hormone, try one of these options below.
But before we get started, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. First off, oxytocin is naturally produced in the body. Next, it doesn’t magically or instantaneously make you fall in love or trust someone.
Hug it Out
It’s just as easy as it sounds—hug it out on someone.
Whether it’s a romantic partner, friend, siblings, parent or acquaintance, give them a hug the next time you see them.
Hang with Friends
Spending some time with your pals is sure to guarantee an oxytocin boost. It can be a verbal chat via the phone, a direct message on Instagram or spending quality time face-to-face.
Each of these creates strong bonds that can help you feel supported and loved—all great for your emotional well-being.
Yoga is a powerful practice and physical exercise that’s a natural way to increase levels of oxytocin. It may also aid in reducing stress, anxiety, improving sleep and improving your overall well-being.
Head to a yoga studio or cultivate your own at-home practice if you prefer to be at home. The purpose is to connect to your mind, body and spirit.
Pet Your Furry Friend
If you have a dog, cat, bunny or any type of furry friend at home that allows you to pet them, give them a generous belly rub.
Not only are you doing wonders for their soul as they succumb to your gently rubs, but research shows this interaction between you and specifically your dog can be a powerful way to release oxytocin for both humans and animals.
Give a Gift of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are an easy way to release this happiness hormone.
Whether it’s your time, energy or resources, doing something nice for someone else brightens everyone’s mood. It can promote positive sentiment on both the receiving and giving end.
Get a Massage
If you love massages, this is a dependable way to increase those oxytocin levels—be it a professional massage, a shoulder rub from a friend or a self-massage.
You can rub your temples, your back, your feet, just be creative. Let your body be caressed and rubbed in ways that get it to relax.
Holding a grudge can negatively impact your overall health. That’s right! Research shows when a person holds a grudge it actually does more harm than good by decreasing oxytocin.
In fact, holding a vendetta against someone wreaks havoc on your well-being. The cue here is to forgive quickly and often. Learning to let go, resolving conflict and practicing forgiveness are all powerful tools to naturally increase your oxytocin levels and promote close feelings of bonding with yourself and others.