Why does it feel so good to cuddle with a loved one? Hug a puppy? Or watch a sappy emotional movie with divine music? Oxytocin. Your pain goes away and feelings of love and connection circulate throughout your brain and body. The healthy nervous system computes the enjoyment of puppies and cuddles because of oxytocin.
Oxytocin (OT) is a 9 amino acid long peptide made in the hypothalamus of your brain. It is also referred to as the love hormone. OT has profound effects on the brain and body. Oxytocin can increase
sense of connection
decrease anxiety and PTSD
Most people think of oxytocin for women since it increases uterine contractions during childbirth and gives females the ultimate party trick of shooting milk from their boobs during those breastfeeding months. Do not be fooled (or jealous) men, oxytocin is also present in men modulating social and emotional behaviors.
The Role of Oxytocin and Stress
Stress and anxiety plague over 40 million Americans and no magic pill has been able to "fix" the problem. Chronic stress and anxiety leads to long term health depletion and lower quality of life. The hippocampus, our memory center in the brain, is damaged by stress and therefore the memory suffers. Oxytocin has a protective effect on the hippocampus allowing us to better retain information for memory formation.
OT is released when we are in perceived safe social settings making us feel love, connection and trust. Social anxiety can cause us to want to hermit in our homes and not interact with other humans further lowering our OT and increasing anxious tendencies. Anxiety and depression has risen to an all time high. We are social creatures and it is essential for our biology to hang with the herd. The past two years has forced many to refrain from social gatherings and has dramatically increased a stressed and depressed fear based society.
Fear and Oxytocin
The amygdala is the fear center in the brain and OT has been shown to suppress neural activity in this region. When OT binds to receptors in the amygdala, our nervous system is able to refrain from functioning out of fear.
Another reason we experience fear and distrust is when the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis complex (HPA) is highly active in conjunction with a sympathetic state response in the nervous system. All this causes our body to go into fight or flight mode making survival our main focus. Oxytocin can quiet this pathway and activate a more parasympathetic (calming state) of the nervous system.
How to Boost Oxytocin
Listen to music
Spend time with loved ones
Give birth/ breastfeed ( casual Tuesday activity)
Drink ceremonial grade cacao!
Cacao for Increasing Oxytocin
Cacao increases oxytocin production by creating a sense of connection, empathy, generosity, trust and sexual activity.
Cacao is medicine and can open the heart physically, mentally and spiritually aiding in our overall health and wellbeing. Sharing a cup of cacao with someone else increases our ability to connect with others and appreciate this life here on Earth.
I absolutely love introducing her to others from around the world. I have served cacao worldwide for both group and private sessions and just co-authored a number one best selling book about cacao, entitled "The Women Who Gathered". You can order the book here. All proceeds go to Bali Street Mums organization in Bali.
I hold Cacao Ceremonies at the Jersey Shore in NJ both private session online and in-person. If you would like to increase our oxytocin with me and a cup of cacao, kindly click here so we can get started https://www.caseymauro.com/cacao
Please reach out with any questions or comments you may have in regards to calming your nervous system or exploring your heart with Cacao at email@example.com
I look forward to connecting with you here and in the quantum field.