Have you noticed that the more technology we have at our disposal the more we take personal interaction for granted? With the advancements in technology it is now easier than ever to stay or become connected to one another. Yet, the more we withdraw into our social profiles the less we connect. Why is that? It may have something to do with the hormones we are activating.

Do You Need To Unplug?

When we log on to any electronic device we are triggering a hormonal response whether we know it or not. More often than not, we are stimulating the production of Dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that is highly addictive and produces short-term pleasure. Unfortunately, this high is short lived and we spend more and more time online in an attempt to get back to that level of bliss we first had. While it is safe to say that technology offers the user an ability to connect with others it is clear that it leaves the user wanting.

Keeping It Real

The hormones that are released during a real life interaction are: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin. All of these hormones produce a feeling of happiness or joy throughout the body. Each one bringing its own unique perspective to the table and producing a vivid picture in which the individual can recall at a later date. However, there is one hormone that becomes intensified by physical contact more than any other. That hormone is Oxytocin.

Meet The Love Hormone

Oxytocin is both a peptide hormone and a neuropeptide. This basically means that like most hormones it has many jobs. It is primarily produced in the hypothalamus and then released by the posterior pituitary. Oxytocin plays a key role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth. During labor Oxytocin is released in response to the stretching of the cervix and uterus, it is also released upon stimulation of the nipples when breastfeeding. Not only does the hormone help with labor and milk production, it also promotes bonding between mother and child. As a by product women contain more receptors for Oxytocin as well as higher levels of its production. Estrogen has also been found to increase the secretion of Oxytocin and enhance the expression of Oxytocin receptors.

Everybody Needs A Little Love

Why is it important to have Oxytocin in our lives? The production of Oxytocin is how we develop trust and empathy with and for others. Without Oxytocin we start to see a number of health related issues. A majority of health issues stem from high levels of stress and anxiety. These health problems then trigger a number of additional emotional and physical signs and symptoms. Some of the most common signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for are the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive Issues
  • Irritability
  • Frequent Mood Swings
  • Crying Outbursts
  • Socially Withdrawn

Are You At Risk?

The signs and symptoms may seem subtle at first. In most cases, an individual suffering from low levels of Oxytocin will transition to angry quickest. Due to the fact that the majority of these signs and symptoms can also indicate a number of other health issues or hormonal imbalances a blood test is needed to diagnose an Oxytocin imbalance. Our hormonal levels can fluctuate throughout the day and our lives. It helps to have natural alternatives to reach for that can help restore Oxytocin levels.

On The Road To Happiness

There are several all natural options that can increase the production of Oxytocin in the body. While there are several supplements and nutritional options we can incorporate into our daily routines the following is a list of all natural alternatives:

  • Physical Contact
  • Acts of Kindness
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Animals
  • Massage
  • Music
  • Exercise
  • Socialization With Others

Let’s Get Physical

One of the most potent forms of Oxytocin stimulation is through physical contact. The hormone’s main function is to strengthen the feeling of a connection to others while also establishing a degree of trust and empathy for one another. As an interesting side note, lying can actually lower the concentration of Oxytocin in an individual toward the person who produced the lie. Just another friendly reminder that bonds are built through mutual levels of trust. When that trust is broken so is the bond. Physical contact is still the number one way that children produce Oxytocin.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Sometimes the mere act of seeing the joy we have brought to someone else is enough to release Oxytocin in us. To be on the safe side we should help as many people as we can whenever we can. I am a firm believer in the more you give the more you will get. If you need love, give it to as many people as you can and it will all come back full circle. It also helps by altering our focus. One of the largest contributing factors to our mood revolves around what we choose to focus on. Because life has a tendency to go in the direction we focus on it is beneficial for us to focus on the good and do our best to spread as much as possible. In doing so we switch our focus onto more positive things, which in turn creates even more positive outcomes.

Destress Without The Mess

Stress or high levels of Cortisol can lead to numerous health related issues. Cortisol is released during high stress moments in an attempt to heighten our senses and increase our likelihood of survival. As a result we live in a constant state of alertness, which may sound beneficial. However, our bodies need downtime to repair themselves. Without this downtime toxins build up within our bodies and other areas that resources are averted from start to develop issues. For example, when our fight or flight response has been activated our bodies avert resources from our reproductive organs and place those resources into our muscles, heart, brain, and lungs. Prolonged stress can lead to fertility issues along with a number of health related issues. Meditation is one of the best ways to quickly lower our stress levels and give our bodies the break they need.

Here Is The Point

Acupuncture does not get enough credit. It is a great way to help our body stimulate natural detoxing. Our bodies are designed to seek out balance and in turn they are hard wired to detox themselves. Normally when we sleep our bodies are feverishly working to remove any excess toxins we may have come across throughout our day. Because it is easy to build up these toxins within our muscles it can be very advantageous for us to participate in activities that can help release these toxins. Acupuncture focuses on direct points in which our bodies tend to store these toxins. The needles used in this technique helps our muscles to contract and expand thus pushing these toxins into the bloodstream where they can be properly disposed of.

Loveable Critters

Most people are unaware of the extreme health benefits that come from owning or interacting with a pet. In fact, several tests have been conducted to breakdown the plethora of medicinal benefits associated with the interaction with animals. A great example would be the fact that the simple act of watching fish has been shown to help lower blood pressure levels. Not to mention the fact that physical contact with animals can increase the production of Serotonin, Dopamine, and Oxytocin. Clearly, in order for this to be the case the interaction must be a positive one. In cases where an individual is terrified of animals it can produce a negative effect.

Feeling The Pressure?

Massage works in a similar fashion as acupuncture. They both help to push built up toxins out of our muscles and into the bloodstream to be removed. Exercise can produce a similar effect depending on the type of exercise we choose to participate in. One of the largest benefits from exercise is the fact that it promotes circulation and increases metabolism. Due to the fact that there are several different types of exercise available we are able to select a form that is more geared to fit our personal needs.

Dance It Out

Music and social interaction round out the all natural approach to inducing Oxytocin levels. Listening to music has been shown to provide multiple emotional and health benefits. Just like exercise the type of music we choose directly affects our mood and ability to produce Oxytocin. A good rule of thumb is to gravitate toward music that invokes joy or tranquility. Lastly, social interaction is key. You can even combine a few of these options say dancing (form of exercise), music, at a social event (party or club). The key is to figure out which is best for you. For an additional nutritional option I have included a great recipe that is sure to up your Oxytocin levels, maybe for a date night?

Butternut Squash Curry

Category: Homepage Recipes

Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan

Servings: 4 people

Butternut Squash Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Spinach
  • 4 Cups Butternut Squash cubed
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 14-ounce can Tomatoes roasted
  • ½ Scallion minced
  • 1 tsp Roasted Garlic Better Than Bullion
  • ¾ Cup Water
  • ⅔ Cup Coconut Milk Full Fat
  • 2 TBsp Fresh Ginger
  • 2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ¾ tsp Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 2 TBsp Coconut Oil raw
  • 1 tsp Coriander ground
  • 1 tsp Cumin ground

Instructions

  1. Heat large pot and add oil and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes add ginger and garlic, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add into pot curry powder, coriander, cumin, and pepper. Stir to evenly coat vegetables. Combine diced squash, tomatoes, milk, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Remove from heat add spinach and stir to wilt spinach. Serve over or with rice quinoa mixture. I like to top mine with chopped walnuts and sliced avocado.

Need a Helping Hand?

A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!

Latest posts by Dr. Dixie Short