Oxytocin - What is it? Why is it Important?
In the realm of hormones, there's one that stands out for its incredible influence on our lives - oxytocin. Derived from two Greek words meaning "swift birth," oxytocin holds the key to various aspects of women's health, from childbirth and breastfeeding to emotional bonding and stress relief.
Oxytocin plays a vital role in nurturing relationships and fostering a sense of connection. In this blog, we dive deeper into the remarkable world of oxytocin, exploring its functions and highlighting its profound impact on women's health and well-being.
WHAT IS OXYTOCIN?
Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, and then released by the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. Its primary functions include facilitating childbirth by causing uterine contractions and aiding in the dilation of the cervix. Additionally, oxytocin plays a crucial role in breastfeeding by allowing the milk to "let-down" from the breast ducts to the nipples. However, its influence extends far beyond the realm of reproduction.
THE POWER OF CONNECTION:
Oxytocin is often hailed as the "love hormone" and the "bonding hormone" for a good reason. It is released when we engage in activities that foster emotional connection and intimacy, such as cuddling, hugging, sexual activity, and moments of deep connection with loved ones. The simple act of a hug can significantly increase oxytocin levels for both the giver and the receiver, highlighting its role in building and strengthening relationships.
EASES STRESS AND PROMOTES WELL-BEING:
Oxytocin has remarkable stress-reducing properties. It works to decrease the levels of cortisol, often referred to as the "stress hormone," helping us manage and cope with challenging situations. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, oxytocin acts as a natural anti-anxiety agent, offering a soothing effect on our emotional well-being.
ENHANCING SOCIAL INTERACTIONS:
One of the fascinating aspects of oxytocin is its ability to foster generosity, trust, and increased social interaction. Research suggests that elevated oxytocin levels are observed during the early stages of romantic relationships and the so-called "honeymoon" phase. Moreover, oxytocin plays a role in expanding our social skills and promoting positive social behaviors, making us more receptive to connection and enhancing our overall social experiences.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS AND ONGOING RESEARCH:
In addition to its well-established functions, researchers are studying the potential benefits of intranasal oxytocin in various psychiatric conditions, such as social phobia, autism, and postpartum depression. Furthermore, emerging studies indicate that oxytocin may have a protective effect on the intestine, particularly in individuals with irritable bowel disease, and contribute to improving social skills in people with autistic spectrum disorders.
8 TIPS TO INCREASE OXYTOCIN LEVELS NATURALLY:
Harnessing the power of oxytocin doesn't have to be complicated. Here are eight simple yet effective tips to naturally boost your oxytocin levels:
- Give a hug or a kiss to a friend, family member, or your pet.
Have sex – Interestingly, men will only release oxytocin with orgasm with a partner they have bonded with. Buy My Book: Healthy Sex Drive Healthy You
- Be willing to receive and embrace a compliment when given to you.
- Be an active, attentive listener – we all want to feel acknowledged and when you give your complete attention to another both of you will have increased oxytocin levels.
- Get a massage – physical touch releases oxytocin, relieving stress and muscle tightness.
- Exercise – be it a walk around the block or intense spin class, exercise releases natural endorphins, including oxytocin.
- Let it out – allow yourself to cry, be happy, show emotions – trying to control emotions reduces oxytocin levels.
- Have a Girl’s Night Out – wine tasting, cooking class or simple pot-luck together with close friends.
P.S. I invite you to join me on TODAY, June 15, at 5pm PST / 8pm EST on Instagram Live, where I will explore the depths of the Power of Connections and Community. Follow us @amazingover40! I can't wait to connect with you!
- In health and happiness