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Image by Brooke Lark


Oxytocin is a powerful hormone and neurotransmitter involved with bonding, trust and calm. It requires action-oriented methods to connect with self and others.

"Oxytocin is in opposition to stress hormones. Oxytocin feels good. Stress hormones and anxiety do not feel good."
Patricia Churchland


'Feel Good' Neurochemical and Hormone

Oxytocin plays a key role in feeling good and at ease. It is involved with feeling love, self-love, connection, positive social interactions, feeling full (literally from food), and feeling a sense of belonging. Oxytocin also:

  • Communicates with the nervous system to allow for calm.

  • Connected to and even modulates serotonin and dopamine. This trio of neurotransmitters is referred to as the “happy hormones.” 

  • ​Regulates our emotional responses and self-compassion, self-love and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy and positive memories.

  • Thanks to oxytocin, we get a toasty, tranquil feeling when we’re with the people we care about, including self-care activities.

Image by Kitera Dent

"Oxytocin is lauded for how it promotes warmth, generosity, social bonding, cooperation, trust and compassion."
Paul J. Zak


Intentional Self-Care and Caring Methods

The more oxytocin you produce on a daily basis, the more it produces naturally, as it involves neuroplasticity. When our 'oxytocin bucket' is full we feel more fulfilled and balanced. It is also involved with feeling trust for yourself and others


More oxytocin, more trust and connection. More trust and connection, more oxytocin and loving feelings. It's an upward positive trajectory. Increasing oxytocin typically requires intentional methods of self-care, self-connection, loving-action or social interaction.

Love is a verb, oxytocin the result. Thus, loving action the cause, oxytocin the effect. Likewise oxytocin is the cause, love the effect.

Image by Jarritos Mexican Soda


Low levels of oxytocin are associated with several conditions, including low self-worth, inner critical core beliefs, depression and anxiety disorders, heartbreak, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, aggression and conduct disorders, eating disorders, relationship dysfunction, codependency patterns, personality disorders, substance and process addictions, chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmune conditions and stress-related medical diseases.

Low oxytocin can be the result of not having enough the following.

  • Caring action towards yourself

  • Caring action towards others

  • Mutually beneficial social interactions

  • Gratitude and appreciation for activities and moments

  • Time outside in nature

  • Intentionally fulfilling or planning on fulfilling Connection Needs:

    • Sense of Belonging, Feeling Valued and Appreciated, Sense of Purpose, Inspiration, etc. (see Connection Needs)


Improving your oxytocin levels is something you can influence in each moment of your life through intentional, action-oriented practices.

A 20 second hug releases oxytocin, nature's antidepressant and antianxiety hormone.


  1. Kind eye contact - even with strangers

  2. Random creativity - paint, drum, doodle, etc.

  3. Surprise someone with a gift 

  4. Being trusted by being trustworthy

  5. Openhearted Listening with curiosity

  6. Do nothing, daydream for 5 mins, sit under a tree, etc.

  7. Speak your genuine wants and desires with someone you trust (vulnerability)

  8. Laugh, watch comedies, tell jokes, etc.

  9. Play, like how kids play! Being spontaneous and silly releases oxytocin; but don't force happy when your sad - faking happy has opposite impact (See #10)

  10. Cry when you feel like crying (suppressing emotions lowers oxytocin, experiencing them increases it)

  11. Pet your pet for at least 5 minutes

  12. Receive gifts and kindness with gratitude

  13. Daily gratitude journal

  14. Conscious deep breathing (shallow breathing ignites fight/flight response and stress chemicals)

  15. Breathing Exercises, like Square Breathing

  16. Quality time with friends or loved ones

  17. Share a meal with friends or loved ones

  18. Words of encouragement to yourself 

  19. Words of encouragement to another

  20. Receive words of encouragement 

  21. Daily allowance of Magnesium, Vitamins C and D (these work together for higher absorption)

  22. Lactobacillus reuteri increases oxytocin

  23. Daily melatonin supplement 500 mcg

  24. Massage, giving and receiving

  25. Inner Child meditations

  26. Inner Bonding journaling

  27. Mindful Self-Compassion practices

  28. Meditate for others, Metta Meditation

  29. Pray and pray for others

  30. Walk outside 

  31. Tell those you love, you love them

  32. Enjoy a warm bath or shower

  33. Hug for 20 seconds 8 hugs a day is ideal 

  34. Random acts of kindness or give to a charity

  35. Creative focus, garden, read, etc.

  36. Watch a movie or show (we bond with the characters, increasing oxytocin)

  37. Jasmine and lavender essential oil scents

  38. Exercise in warm temperatures, sweating increases oxytocin

  39. Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve for oxytocin

  40. Sing for 30 minutes

  41. Prepare and eat brightly colored food

  42. Taste your food, receptors in your mouth stimulate oxytocin

  43. Mindfully experience feeling full - when food reaches your gut, a hormone is released from the intestines that activates the vagus nerve, stimulating oxytocin

  44. Being outside in nature

  45. Listen to slow-tempo music

  46. Cuddle with someone you care about

  47. Hold hands with someone you care about

  48. Do something exciting with someone, like a road trip, shooting guns at a gun range or riding a rollercoaster  

  49. Tandem skydiving - a 200% oxytocin spike!

  50. Acts of service for yourself or others

  51. Say thank you, give appreciation

  52. Simple comforts and action-oriented self-care (worksheets below)

  53. Allow, feel and honor your emotions in present moment so they may gently process

  54. Kissing, the more passionate the better hehe

  55. Sexual intimacy amongst those who have the bond associated with feeling in love

Bathtub and Candle

"It turns out that we literally don't empathize unless we're physically present - that the oxytocin
the 'tend and befriend' hormone is not produced unless we're present with all five senses."

Gloria Steinem

Image by Jason Briscoe

Love is a verb. Love is action-oriented. Love is something we can see with our eyes, hear with our ears or feel with our skin. Self-love is action-oriented self-care.







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