Oxytocin And 10 Ways To Produce More
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin performs two very important functions that allow the human race to continue. But these functions have various beneficial side effects.
1) Oxytocin is released when you have an orgasm. For men, interestingly, it is only released when you have an orgasm with someone you love.
2) Oxytocin is released when a woman is in labor. It helps the cervix stress so it’s in less pain. It’s released for women, that is. For men, when the female cervix starts to expand it’s the beginning of about nine years of agony.
Basically, Oxytocin is the hormone that is there at the critical moments of life creation. It’s the “life hormone”. It also helps reduce cortisol levels (you know that feeling of relaxation you get after sex) and it reduces inflammation of the nerves.
I’m not going to point to all the research, you can google it. But basically, there’s various ways you can trick the body into releasing oxytocin. The benefits are simple: you feel better and you will live longer and you will reduce stress and be happier.
Here are ten ways:
– Give money away. Turns out that showing compassion in a visceral way like giving money is linked to higher levels of oxytocin. Charity’s, homeless, friends, indiegogo campaigns, kickstarters, purchasing people’s lunches, your call; give it a shot.
– Hugging someone. Touching and hugging release oxytocin with hugging more powerful than touching and hugging someone you love even better than normal hugging. So a hug is better than a handshake. But almost as good as hugging is imagining yourself being hugged or cuddled by someone you love. It’s really funny how the brain does that.
– Using facebook (I know). I like to browse my facebook timeline and occasionally “Like” a photograph that a random friend from 30 years ago posted. I would never in a Million years call that friend and say, “that was a real cute photo of your baby that you posted.” But liking the photo is my way of connecting with someone who I have felt close to at some point in my life, even if it was only because her locker was next to mine in junior high school. Guess what, using social media in this way turns out to release oxytocin.
– Laughter. I will tell you my pre-date/big appointment secret. I watch or listen to standup. This would get me laughing, make my oxytocin hormones go on fire, and then I’d go right into the date, with all my sex hormones raging. Plus, I would be temporarily funnier, with a half-life of about two hours. I do this before talks also.
– Take a walk. Note: I didn’t say take a run. Running is great for reducing the metabolism but so is eating better. Else, for me at least, running is really hard. I hate it. But I love to walk. Walk in the sun. The sun is a nutrient. And a half hour won’t kill you, despite what global warming people say. 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. If you can, try to take a walking meeting. This helps you bond more with the person you are meeting 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. I guess because then you know when you are chasing wolves with someone then you will feel safer).
– Call someone. It’s good to talk to a friend. I don’t have a lot of friends. I have about three people on my call list. Maybe four if I stretch it. Maybe five. I don’t know. Maybe 50. I like a lot of people but I’m too shy to call them. But maybe I should. And just chat for a few minutes. Like we all used to do when we were kids. “Hey, how are you doing? What’s up?” This feels good. It’s like a vocal hug with someone we like. Vocally hug people today.
– Being trusted. This is hard. You can’t force people to trust you. And trusting someone doesn’t release oxytocin. But being trusted does. So live your life in such a way that more and more people will trust you. Guess what: you will be viewed in a more charismatic way if people trust you than if people don’t trust you. Why not try this? How can you be more trusted.
– Listening to soothing music. Just lying down and listening to music releases oxytocin. That’s why women in labor are encouraged to listen to soothing music. That’s why people having sex listen to soothing music. I don’t even really know what soothing music means. I keep thinking of the 90s rap group PM Dawn. But I’m sure there are better examples (Spandau Ballet?).
– Trust me when I say this: here is my Oxytocin-rich meal: eggs, bananas, pepper. Each ingredient known to release high levels of oxytocin. Something sweet, something savory, something spicy, a fruit, some protein, its all good. Eat a big plate of that and nothing else. BAM! You are off for the day on an oxytocin spurt.
– Deep breathing. 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 all those exercises where people are standing upside down and doing weird 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. That’s the only reference in the Yoga Sutras to physical exercise. Just as important is an area of yoga called pranayama which has to do with deep breathing.
Basically, yoga measures a lifespan in the number of breaths you take. A dog pants fast and dies young. A turtle breathes slow and lives to over 100. Pranayama is the art of breathing slower and slower And using your cavities in your bodies other than your chest cavity to hold your breath (i.e. your abdomen, for instance). You don’t have to be a pranayama expert. I don’t want to be one. But the simplest exercise is to sit there and hold your breath for 8 seconds, breath out for 8 seconds, breathe in for 8 seconds, hold, etc. Do that for ten minutes a day. They didn’t say this in 300 BC but your oxytocin comes out to play during these moments.
Good news is that there is a chemical in your brain that when released, makes you feel good for up to two weeks. And if a lot of it is released you either feel like you are having an orgasm for two weeks or, I don’t know, like your cervix is being expanded for two weeks. I have no idea on that one.