The Science of Connection – Oxyt♥cin

Oxytocin connection

One of the things I love about WordPress is the community.  I have met some pretty awesome people here.  People with compassion and empathy.  People who support one another.  People who understand the importance of connection and nurture those connections.  These attributes are not only prosocial but have something in common.   Oxytocin;  a hypothalamic hormone stored in the posterior pituitary. It’s also a neurotransmitter.

Oxytocin_color.svgOxytocin can enhance health, well being, longevity, bond families, and ultimately unite humanity.  When we don’t encourage the release of this hormone-neurotransmitter, we become dysfunctional.  Not only on an individual basis but also within families, within communities, within nations and the world.  It’s so simple, yet we tend to make it complicated.

Caring and kindness encourages the release of oxytocin, and curtails an overproduction of another hormone-neurotransmitter, dopamine.  Dopamine is necessary for survival, and motivates us, but too much can make us self-centered, domineering, greedy, self-indulgent and less empathic.

It can also become addictive — alcohol, nicotine, drugs, gambling, sex, and food addictions are all addictions to dopamine.

Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, calmness, trust and security while reducing anxiety and decreasing fear.  Animal studies show oxytocin inhibits the development of tolerance to various addictive drugs, (opiates, cocaine, alcohol, etc.) and reduces withdrawal symptoms.  In other studies,  empathy increased in healthy men after intranasal oxytocin was administered.

Oxytocin is the bonding hormone.  It’s the cuddle hormone.  It’s the love hormone.  It can curtail depression.  It enhances the immune system.  When we encourage behavior that releases oxytocin, it not only benefits others, it benefits ourselves. It’s a win, win.  I produced this simple 5 minute video,  to further elaborate on the science of connection.  Thanks for reading and for watching. ♥

Images:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oxytocin_color.svg
http://www.morguefile.com/

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20 thoughts on “The Science of Connection – Oxyt♥cin

  1. Fascinating. I write a blog that is in large part devoted to the idea of interconnectedness. I’m also a science geek so I love the intersection of science and spirituality. In addition to caring for others, do you know of any other activities/behaviors that promote oxytocin production?

    • Are there any other ways of increasing oxytocin? Yes – reading your uplifting blog. 🙂 Here are 10 other ways to release oxytocin, backed by science. The WordPress community is also representative of #10. http://www.prevention.com/health/sex-relationships/easy-ways-increase-oxytocin-levels

      Here’s a quote from Psychology Today: “… 98% of the hundreds of people I have tested release oxytocin properly when they are trusted. The human oxytocin system motivates a desire to interact with others, and those whose brains release a spike of oxytocin reciprocate the trust they have been shown.” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moral-molecule/200811/the-oxytocin-cure

      Brainwave entrainment is another method that encourages the release of oxytocin; using alpha frequencies for longer than 20 minutes.

      Thanks for your reply, the like and for the follow.

      Love your Missionary Statement.

      *now following*

      • Thank you! I’m so humbled to think my blog might help release oxytocin in others! I can’t wait to check out the other links. You’ve got great information on your site. sidenote: my actual career is as a clinic-based speech-langauge pathologist. I love my TBI clients!!

        • What a small world. I am a worldwide advocate for TBI awareness. Some of the information posted here may not seem so uplifting but they serve a higher purpose. I have faith in the innate goodness of people wholly connected to their own humanity. It is my hope that in the near future, societies will move away from being fear-based, to being trust-based. That will come about when we change some of the disadvantageous cultural practices that created fear-based societies.

          Robert M. Sapolsky, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University, said in his article “Peace Among Primates” that humans may be hardwired to get edgy around the Other, but our views on who falls into that category are decidedly malleable.

          • I read your Personal Note. Very moving. I’m sorry for your losses, but rejoice that they propelled you further toward advocacy. As for our hardwiring (from an evolutionary perspective) I like to think of us as being naturally much more like our Bonobo brothers than the chimps. Peace, cooperation, and sex! 🙂 But sociocultural constructs teach us that we are otherwise.

  2. Hi Victoria,
    Can use the quote from the article about W3Schools in the workbook I am creating?
    http://wp.me/p3bErt-lW
    It is only a small workbook but the aim is to convince teachers to have a look at the teaching style.
    It will take three or four days before it is published. Hope that is OK?
    Jo

  3. Victoria, great article and beautiful video (nice job!). How did I miss this way back when? Anyway, I do agree. We can not survive without loving connections. And what a better world it would be if we were all “high” on Oxytocin. I’m going to post the video and link to your article on my FB page.

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