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Both romantic and platonic touch can be very healthy. Cuddling releases all the feel-good hormones we know and love: dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. All of these increase our sense of well-being and happiness, and today we’re going to highlight the main touch hormone: oxytocin.

Your New Favorite “O”: Oxytocin

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Hugging and cuddling initiate the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is primarily linked to social bonding (especially between mother and child) but it also has other health benefits. Here are the top four benefits of oxytocin:

  1. Oxytocin helps to reduce our blood pressure and stress levels—almost instantaneously.
  2. Oxytocin is anti-inflammatory
  3. Oxytocin brings us closer to those we know and love.
  4. Oxytocin enhances your overall well-being—beyond just a five second hug.

In the majority of research, it appears that these benefits happen only when you are familiar and trust the person you are touching. Hugging a stranger is likely to not have the same strong benefits.

Ways to Get Your Cuddle in:

  • Hug a friend!

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Next time you see a good friend or family member, give them a good, solid hug. You’ll both feel more connected.

  • Find a cat café

Can’t have a pet in your apartment? Cat Cafés are popping up around the world. Why NOT sip a cappuccino while you pet a furry friend?

  • Volunteer at a pet shelter

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Besides granting immediate unconditional love, cuddling with a furry friend is bound to make you feel good. Most pet shelters are in need of long-term volunteers. Committing to walking, socializing and caring for pets until they are adopted helps everyone out.

  • Get a massage

Not only will getting a massage make your sore muscles feel better, it can also stimulate the release of oxytocin.

  • Take a warm bath

Don’t feel like being social? Pour yourself a warm bath and let yourself relax. Give yourself a shoulder massage. Phew—feeling better already!

Who’s YOUR favorite cuddle buddy? Tag a picture on Instagram #BestLifeProject to share!

This article was republished with permission from myvega.com.

 

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