What to hugs and dogs have in common? Or, better yet, hugging your dogs?
If you know anything about me, you know that I love few things more than dogs, especially my dogs. To say that I’m a crazy dog lady would be an understatement, and I’m good with that. Any of you who share a deep symbiotic relationship with animals will understand.
Let me ask you this, do you know that feeling when you get a really good hug? The sort of dreamy, relaxed, melty feeling that makes you let out a big sigh? Ok, now, think now to a dog or a dog you loved in your past. How do you feel when you look into that dog’s eyes while you are petting it? Notice a similar feeling to that of that hug?
It’s all the same feeling! That feeling is due to the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love potion” hormone. It’s also a hormone of motherhood.
It’s SUPER important, especially for women. Women NEED oxytocin to not only feel relaxed, happy and loved, but for their estrogen to work properly! Men need oxytocin as well, and they certainly need to know how to nurture its production for the women they love.
Oxytocin also helps us stay lean, pain-free (this is why sex makes your pain go down), social, happy, and calm. It is what makes us feel loved, and part of what forms the mother-baby bond.
Oxytocin keeps us feeling like functional, empathetic and trusting beings.
I was super excited to see a study out of Japan which showed that when dogs and owners stared into one another’s eyes, they BOTH secreted oxytocin. Both the human owner and the dog. How wonderful is that? Canines and humans really do have a special bond.
10 Ways to Boost Your Oxytocin Naturally:
- HUGS! You must hug frequently and for at least 20-30 seconds per hug. Hug well and hug long. Imagine your loved one secreting oxytocin while you hug them.
- Staring into your dog’s eyes (I’m pretty sure staring into your lover’s eyes has a similar effect)
- Petting your doggies or pets
- Sex. On this, women differ from men. When a woman orgasms she releases a flood of oxytocin and finds her feeling bonded to the other person. When a man has an orgasm he releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter of pleasure, which finds him seeking more of the same. This explains a lot.
- Submerge yourself in warm water. Not too hot, not too cold.
- Preparing brightly colored foods.
- Socializing with good friends
- Dancing, exercising, and singing with others.
- Give and receive LOVE!
Now go hug someone that you love (for 30 seconds), tell them that you love them and then go do the same to your dog! Soak up that love potion!
Share this with everyone you love and expect a solid hug the next time you see them.
Reference: Nagasawa M, Mitsui S, En S, et al. Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds. Science. 2015.
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