This guest article is written by MJ Renshaw, Manual Therapist
Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and acts as a neurotransmitter. Depending on your levels, this hormone plays a large role in your mood + personality! Since we’ve all been lacking human connection, and have been doing a lot of digging into important racial truths in order to literally dismantle a system of violence and oppression (phew) I thought it would be a good idea if we take a peak at this hormone and what it does for us.
The reason why oxytocin is important to consider right now is because it is a hormone that is largely regulated by social interaction and might be lacking a bit in some of our lives. This is why it is commonly referred to as the “love” hormone. Since we need literally all the love we can give to the world right now it is important to “fill our cup,” or, in a more literal way, “stimulate our hypothalamus to create oxytocin so that we feel love”. As you can imagine, fear turns oxytocin production off—leading us to feel isolated, alone, and maybe even hopeless.
Helping your oxytocin levels get higher helps you feel warmth, trust, altruism, openness and generosity. These are all the traits we need to cultivate and call on right now when it comes to building the world of equality + justice a lot of us are striving for. In order to overcome fear, we need to lean into trust and oxytocin can be a big helper in that!
Here are some ways you can naturally raise your oxytocin so we can keep rebuilding our planet:
Holding grudges leads to a lack of oxytocin. Write a list of all the people you need to forgive and make a ceremony of it.
This is one a lot of us had been missing for a while but not to fear, self-massage and pets count! Tapping is a great resource for relaxing and stimulating oxytocin.
3. Random acts of kindness
Go on a walk and see how many people you can make eye contact with and smile at.
4. Loving-kindness meditations
Pema Chodron has a great meditation that can help you focus on others and is the best meditation for oxytocin release!
Oxytocin isn't a one stop fix-all hormone, though. If there aren’t tools like loving-kindness meditations or forgiveness practices involved it can create an “us vs them” mentality which is not helpful in building a more peaceful world!
Changing the world really does begin with changing yourself and having more oxytocin so that we feel trusting + giving is a great place to start.