There's nothing like the feeling of being in love - your heart pounds, you feel floaty, and everything seems just awesome. Unfortunately, if you're relying on another person to give you that loving feeling, you're bound to be disappointed. At some point they'll let you down, break your heart, or just go away for the weekend and leave you feeling bereft and alone. That's why we've come up with 10 ways to unleash the "love hormone" oxytocin in your brain, without all that bother of romancing an actual human.
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The human brain is a complex organ, and many hormones are involved in creating that love high - but the biggest player is probably the hormone oxytocin. It's released during orgasm, and is crucial to creating feelings of shmoopy togetherness (called "pair bonding" by scientists). So here are ten ways to raise your oxytocin levels without meeting "the one."
10. Start lactating.
Lacatation and suckling boost oxytocin levels in the body (and so does giving birth). But let's face it - starting up your lactation system is probably the most inconvenient way possible to simulate a feeling of love. Though admittedly it is less irritating than watching Sleepless In Seattle.
9. Pop some apomorphine!
Apomorphine is a drug that's used to treat a lot of conditions, including drug addiction and Parkinson's Disease. One of the main ways it works is by boosting your levels of dopamine (another "love hormone"). But a group of scientists showed that it also boosts oxytocin levels, which revealed a basic connection between dopamine and oxytocin levels in your brain. So it's possible that many substances that jack up dopamine are also jacking up oxytocin.
8. Eat lots of pasta with garlic and tomato sauce.
Another hormone that stimulates the production of oxytocin is estrogen. You might not want to start popping estrogen pills, however, so your best bet is to eat foods that contain an estrogen-like substance called phytoestrogen. There are a ton of tasty treats that can boost your fake estrogen, including apples, ginger, plums, wheat, tomatoes, chick peas, garlic and oregano. In fact, pretty much all the ingredients in a good pasta dish with tomato sauce will boost your phytoestrogen, spike your oxytocin levels, and leave you feeling fat and happy. Unlike your pasta-deprived friends, who are all obsessing over whether their stupid girlfriends texted them in the last five seconds.
7. Get a massage.
A surefire way to send oxytocin zooming around your neurons is to touch or be touched. It doesn't need to be sexytime touch, either. A massage is the perfect way to get that love glow without having to answer 60 million annoying questions on OK Cupid.
6. Snuggle with your pets.
Oxytocin is unleashed in response to touching, regardless of what kind of creature you touch. As long as the touches are "non-noxious," as researchers put it, oxytocin release is inevitable.
5. Take a warm bath.
A study of rats showed that their oxytocin levels rose in response to warmth. Same goes for humans. That's why taking a warm bath or shower is often nicer than the date you go on afterwards.
4. Listen to soothing music.
A recent study of patients recovering from open heart surgery found that when they listened to soothing music, levels of oxytocin in their blood increased. As a result, they were less stressed and healed more quickly.
3. Eat some chocolate.
First of all, it tastes good. Second, it gives you a dopamine high, which we've already pointed out can cause oxytocin levels to rise in your brain too. Third, if you hate chocolate, you can always get the same dopamine boost from snorting a little crystal meth. Which is often less dangerous and expensive than falling in love with an actual human.
2. Have an orgasm.
Contrary to what they taught you on Vampire Diaries, you can have an orgasm even if you don't hop in bed with a hot undead boy or girl. If you want that mega-high of love, say scientists, there's no better way than to unleash the orgasms.
1. Just go ahead and snort some oxytocin.
You can actually buy oxytocin as a nasal spray, as long as you can convince your doctor to prescribe it for you. While this is certainly the easiest way to boost your oxytocin levels, sadly this spray isn't intended to be recreational. And it can make you barf.