For us girls, hormones can be a tricky topic that we avoid, because it often means our time of the month is just around the corner.
But, researchers have found that there is actually a cuddle hormone that can surge when we bond socially or get close to others. This hormone, called oxytocin, is responsible for our trust in others. In both sexes, it releases when we hug or kiss someone (you can now use this hormone as your excuse when you need it). In women, it plays an important role in breastfeeding and labor, and creates a bond between the mother and the child. This hormone is vital in our production of milk, which I think is one of the coolest things us women have the power of doing. During research of oxytocin in men (published in the PNAS journal in 2010), researchers gave men an increased amount of oxytocin and then asked them to write about their mothers. The men who had secure relationships with their mother wrote about them in a loving way, and focused on their positive attributes. But, the men who had a troubled relationship with their mom wrote about them in a negative way. This shows that oxytocin can also intensify our bad memories of bonding (yikers!).
You can actually get this hormone in a nasal spray, which I think would probably only be useful if going to hang out with someone you don’t particularly like, and need to cuddle with (lol, we’ve all had these days). The hormone has also shown to keep men in relationships farther away from other attractive women, so maybe this nasal spray will be selling out soon. But Dr. Love has prescribed us all an easy task.. eight hugs a day to keep our oxytocin levels high! So… hug away, and in return you will release more oxytocin, which will increase your trust levels, which will make the world a better place!!!
Grrls– keep hugging. Keep trusting, and keep learning.
Sending hugs and kisses and LOTS of oxytocin,
Lucy Callicott
Big thanks to my amazing and beautiful artist: Grace John