4 Infallible Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Modern medicine focuses on cures, not on lifestyle interventions that can prevent many diseases depending on a healthy immune system. Let’s actively boost our immune system to overcome deadly pathogens, carcinogens and self-inflicted wounds driven by anxiety and stress. Let’s realize that our immune system is at the core of our wellbeing, regulating our organism’s response to infections, cancer and autoimmunity.

Basics of the Immune System

The immune system is a sophisticated set of proteins, cells, tissues and organs working together to protect any organism. Even trees have rudimentary immune systems! Although its main goal is to repel infections, it also plays a role patrolling and controlling cancer while potentially able to trigger autoimmune diseases.

The immune system consists of a number of important players, described as members of a detective task force in chapter 2 of the free kindle book Mindful Framing:

T Cells: These are the major orchestrators of all the components in the immune system. Some types of T cells are able to recognize infected and cancerous cells and directly kill or destroy them. Other T cells assist or regulate the activities of other immune cells.

B Cells: These cells play a major role in producing billions of antibodies, tiny molecules that are always on the look out for pathogens and unwanted cells. B cells play a crucial role in controlling infections by tagging pathogens and cancer cells to be recognized by macrophages, but can also generate antibodies causing autoimmune diseases.

Macrophages: These cells recognize pathogens or unwanted cells that need to be removed while interacting with T cells, informing them which cells are allies or enemies.

Natural Killer Cells: These are rapid-response cells able to kill infected and cancerous cells, like the T cells, but just relying on certain markers not requiring the intervention of other immune cells.

Age and the Immune System

The elderly are more susceptible to infectious diseases, and unfortunately, more likely to die from them. This is because as we age, our immune system is less effective at combating infections, and less responsive to vaccines.

Why is this? As we age, the total number of T cells remain the same; however, the number of naïve T cells decrease. Naïve T cells are T cells that learn to recognize specific pathogens. They then develop into cells that are specialists in future encounters with those specific pathogens.

Additionally, senescent T cells, which are T cells that have deteriorated with age, are easily exhausted after becoming active and start producing inflammation-causing substances potentially leading to chronic systemic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis or lupus.

There also seems to be an association between nutrition and immunity in older individuals. The elderly can display micronutrient malnutrition, a form of malnutrition which occurs when one is deficient in various essential vitamins and minerals. This is because they tend to eat less and have a less diverse diet.

 

You can optimize your immune system by using these 4 infallible lifestyle interventions to boost its function:

Eat a healthy diet

There are many definitions of what a “healthy diet” is, but the general consensus is that it is one that is rich in fruits and vegetables and poor in processed foods. Research has shown that fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E, which can boost your immune function. In addition, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants which fight inflammation.

In particular, beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant that not only reduces disease-causing inflammation, but also boosts the immune system by increasing the number of immune cells in the body. Foods that are rich in beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.

Likewise, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that aids in the destruction of free radicals. It also boosts the immune system in a number of ways. For instance, it promotes the production and coordinated function of T cells and B cells, and protects them from free radical damage. Lastly, vitamin C strengthens the skin barrier, preventing pathogens from entering the body in the first place. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, lemons, red peppers and other fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that it increases the T cells ability to form an effective immune synapse. An effective immune synapse means having a close contact between immune system cells, essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. You can get Vitamin E from nuts, seeds, broccoli and spinach.

Having a balanced diet leads to a healthy gut, essential for a healthy immune system. That’s because the majority of your immune system resides in the gut, in fact, up to 80%.

In order to maintain a healthy gut, you need to maintain a good balance between the good bacteria, and the bad bacteria in your gut. One way you can do this is by consuming probiotics, either in supplement form or in food. Good food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables.

Another way in which you can improve your gut health is to avoid or limit your consumption of highly processed foods. This is because highly processed foods can cause inflammation of the gut.

Get enough sleep

We all know the importance of sleep for rejuvenating our mind and organism, but did you know that it can also boost our immune system?

Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a reduction in immune function. For example, research has shown that people who sleep less than 5 hours a night are more likely to have suffered a recent cold.

Why is this so? Well, in order for your T cells to destroy pathogens, they need to come in close contact with them. Sticky substances called integrins facilitate this contact; think of them as the glue that your T cells need to stick to pathogens.

Stress hormones make these integrins less sticky. When you get enough sleep, your stress hormones drop, causing the integrins to stick better. And when they’re stickier, your T cells are better able to adhere to pathogens, boosting your immunity.

In order to get enough sleep, it is critical to optimize your sleep environment. For instance, you’ll want to reduce your exposure to blue light from blue-light emitting devices such as TVs, laptops, tablets, and cell phones. This is because blue light reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for good sleep.

You’ll also want to make sure your sleep environment is quiet, so you can fall asleep and stay asleep. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, you may want to wear earplugs, or turn on a white-out machine to drown out noise.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not too hot or too cold, as either factor can result in poor sleep. You can do this by wearing night wear that keeps you at a comfortable temperature, adjusting your thermostat accordingly, and using appropriate bedding.

Practice anxiety management

Anxiety and chronic stress affect not only your mind, but your immune system too. Chronic stress decreases the number of T cells and B cells. This in turn increases your risk for viral infections, such as colds and cold sores. Chronic stress also activates latent viruses, viruses which have been dormant in your body. The activation of latent viruses due to chronic stress causes wear and tear on your immune system, making it exhausted and “burnt out”, unable to deal with everyday assaults to your body. Lastly, chronic stress results in chronic inflammation, causing autoimmune diseases.

Due to the effect of chronic stress on the immune system, it is important to practice anxiety management. You can do this in a number of ways. One way is to practice mindfulness-based meditation. This lowers your cortisol levels, which in turn reduces inflammation. Mindful framing also achieves this effect by transforming your anxiety into vital energy while developing a mental framework focusing on connecting to nature, emotional intelligence and invigorating your organism. Practicing yoga also lowers your cortisol levels and relaxes your nervous system, thus reducing inflammation.

Besides practicing these mind-body activities, simply spending time in nature can boost your immune system. When you’re out in nature, the sounds, smells, and sights can also induce feelings of calm. Additionally, some research shows that phytoncide, an antibacterial substance released by trees, increases Natural Killer Cell activity. So, the next time you’re under stress, go for a walk and while you’re at it, practice some mindful framing.

Engage in regular exercise

You know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?’’. Well, that saying can also apply to exercise. In a study examining the effects of exercise on the immune system, participants who walked at least 20 minutes a day, a minimum of 5 days a week, had almost 50% less sick days than those who walked once a week or less. What’s more, when they did get sick, they were sick for a shorter period, and their symptoms were milder.

Engaging in regular exercise becomes even more important as you get older. That’s because research shows that exercise can increase the number of T cells, and even improve the response to vaccines in the elderly.

However, exercise intensity matters. You want to aim for moderate intensity exercise, not high intensity exercise. This is because engaging in prolonged high intensity exercise, without enough recovery time, may increase the risk of illness. So, go ahead and get some exercise, but try not to overdo it.

 

We live in an increasingly hostile environment to our bodies and minds, and despite many miracle therapies in today’s medicine, prevention is still better than cure. So, take the time to boost your immune system in a holistic manner. Your very life could depend on it.

The 5 Building Blocks of your Memory Palace

Imagine no more misplacing your car keys or forgetting names, missing appointments. Imagine being able to be present, mindful of the moment while confident that anything you want to memorize is easily retrievable and safe, backed up in your synaptic cloud. Imagine having an indestructible hard drive inside your brain. Discover and develop your ‘Memory Palace’ right now!

Memory and the Hippocampus

The hippocampus, located inside the middle section of the brain,  plays a crucial role in helping us learn and remember things. It is involved in two types of memory: declarative memories and spatial relationship memories.

Declarative memories are memories related to facts and events. For example, when you are trying to memorize lines in a play.

Spatial relationship memories are memories related to routes or pathways, connecting ideas. For example, when you are trying to learn a new route through the city.

The hippocampus is also where your short term memories are transformed into long-term memories, mostly when an emotional tag is attached to them, which are then stored somewhere else in the brain, the limbic system.

Recent research suggests that the hippocampus may do more than help us remember things. It may also help us see, touch and hear. It is truly a remarkable brain circuitry.

Disorders of the Hippocampus

The hippocampus is quite sensitive, susceptible to neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, depression and stress. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain that is affected. In the early stages of the disease, patients suffer short term memory loss, and may find it hard to follow directions. Meanwhile, upwards of 50 percent of patients with epilepsy show damage in the hippocampus.

In severe depression, the hippocampus can shrink to 80% of its original volume. For those with chronic stress, cortisol affects the level at which neurons are added or eliminated, thus reducing the size of the hippocampus. This effect can be reversed by controlling stress.

The Memory Palace

A memory palace is a visualization technique based on creating a mind map based on different spaces or rooms in an imaginary building. It may include walkways  to connect memories, plans and ideas. This methodology leverages a familiar environment, such as your home or town, to connect declarative and spatial memories. To ensure memorization you visualize specific locations that you always recall in the same order. Try it out!

 

And to keep your memory palace in mint condition, let’s make sure your mental capacity and intellectual abilities are in top shape with these 5 building blocks:

Exercise                                   

We all know that exercise is good for the body, but did you know that it is good for the mind as well? The saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks doesn’t work for humans. Getting older doesn’t mean that your brain will deteriorate.

Regular aerobic exercise can lower the cognitive decline and neuro-degeneration that may occur as we age. In fact, aerobic exercise is the most effective way to improve your memory as you age. In healthy adults, aerobic exercise improves not only memory, but attention span and the speed at which information is processed as well. And in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, exercise can definitely improve memory.

Why is this so? Animal studies show that when you exercise, the hippocampus grows new neurons, so-called neuroplasticity is taking place. Aerobic exercise also improves blood flow to the hippocampus, thereby improving memory.

Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate and delivers more oxygen through your body, including the brain. You don’t have to go the gym and go on a treadmill or the elliptical, just pick an activity you like and move your body, such as a brisk walk.

Sleep

Have you noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful? You may also find that when you don’t get enough sleep, it is harder to learn new things at the office, or at school. And for good reason. We need sleep in order to consolidate memories. Therefore, getting a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep is essential to solidifying new memories, as well as storing long term memory.

You know that practice drives mastery, right? Well, resting may be just as important as practice when it comes to learning. According to research, the breaks that you take while learning is where the true memorization takes place. In fact, your brain needs a break about every 90 minutes to reach peak efficiency. So, listen to your body and let your brain reset at regular intervals. In a study with participants doing a typing test, those who took a regular 10-second rest got faster as time went on. And brain scans showed that the brain was not just relaxing, it was actually processing what had just been done, and forming memories of it, so that it could perform even better.

Mindfulness

Research has shown that those who regularly engage in the practice of mindfulness meditation have less age-related brain degeneration, better brain function, and show improvements in memory, particularly long-term memory and working memory.

This is because mindfulness meditation appears to increase your brain’s ability to form new neural connections, which in turn improves your memory.

Want to learn a visualization-based mindfulness practice? Try mindful framing, in which you become more mindful by visualizing different types of memory palaces, controlling your anxiety triggers, leveraging your 5 senses and imagining and connecting with Natural landscapes, Emotional relationships and caring for your Organism, the NEO Chi lifestyle.

Nutrition

You know the saying that “You are what you eat?” Well, it applies just as well to your body as to your brain. We all know that increased sugar intake can lead to obesity. But did you know that it may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well?

The Framingham Heart Study found that consuming too many sugar laden drinks, including so-called healthy drinks like fruit juice was associated with a lower brain volume, an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, it is imperative to reduce your consumption of sugary beverages. Eliminate sodas. Not only are they sugary, they are devoid of any nutrition. Try diluting your juice with water if you are so inclined to drinking juice, or better yet, swap the fruit juice for fresh fruit instead, or just add slices of fruit into your water.

Reducing your caloric intake is a great way to lose or maintain your weight. Reducing your calorie intake may also improve your memory. A study found that elderly female participants who reduced their caloric intake by 30%, were able to improve their verbal memory scores.

In addition, certain foods rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, or omega-3s, such as seeds, nuts, fish and green leafy vegetables, will improve your memory.

Memorization

A lot of people have problems with their memory because they don’t actually make the effort to memorize. Indeed, memory is all about visualization, using your mind’s eye to imagine. If you create an image to represent an idea, a person or a task and place it somewhere in your memory palace, the greater the probability that you will recall that information.

Are you trying to remember the name of someone that you just met? Try visualization and association, if you just met a lady named Bee and she told you about her job as a chef, just imagine a bee flying around in the kitchen of your memory palace.

Are you trying to memorize a shopping list? Try linking, to remember to buy soap and sugar, imagine a cloud of soapy foam with floating sugar cubes pouring from the store entrance.

 

Life is full of distractions and we rely more and more on gadgets that make our life easier. However, we should devote time and attention to maintain our minds fit and ready. A healthy body needs a healthy mind.

 

5 Awesome Benefits from Connecting with Nature

Have you ever felt a magnetic pull to be out in the woods or simply stroll in a park nearby? Why is enjoying nature so important when you need vacation or just look for relaxation?

This the law of attraction to nature!

Let’s explore the major benefits of embedding yourself in nature, observing, being mindful of your surroundings… not just sitting while scrolling through inert bits and pieces! Research shows that connecting with nature can significantly boost your mental and physical health, even reduce your blood pressure up to 10%. It’s like a natural pill to boost your wellbeing!

 

Increased energy

Are your energy levels low? Well, it’s probably time for a nature break! According to a study, spending time in nature makes people feel invigorated, independently of the physical activity or social interactions.

How much time should you spend in nature to improve your energy levels? The magic number is 20 minutes, enough to significantly boost your energy levels. Improving your energy levels not only allows to you do the things you want to do, it also makes you less likely to get sick.

So, the next time you’re feeling sluggish, don’t instinctively grab a cup of coffee. Instead, go outdoors, just walk around, admire plants and trees or… sit on a bench and smell the roses!

Reduced stress

Stress is a part of our everyday life, affecting our mental and physical health as well. It can make you engage in activities that increase your risk of heart disease such as smoking, eating too much or not engaging in regular physical activity.

Again, just 20 minutes a day connecting with nature can lower your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and lower physical signs of stress such as muscle tension, blood pressure and heart rate. Just sitting in natural environment, not even hiking or walking, will enable you to reap these benefits.

Why is connecting with nature helpful in reducing stress? According to the stress reduction theory, being in a natural environment helps us recover from stress. This is because peaceful natural settings led to favorable living conditions that improved the chances of survival. As a result, we innately respond seek contact with nature.

Improved mood

A recent study found that walking in urban parks can elevate your spirit to the same levels you might feel on Christmas eve. Research also shows that your risk for mood disorders, such as depression is lowered when you regularly spend time connecting with nature.

Why is that? If you are aware and present in a natural environment, you have less tendency to ruminate over the past or worry about the future, a common feature of depression and anxiety. Nature has a way of filling you with a sense of awe, feeling that you “are in the presence of something bigger than yourself.” This in turn makes your worries and cares pale in comparison.

What’s more, even seeing nature with your mind’s eye has these effects. Practicing mindful framing, which includes visualization of trees and natural landscapes, will have a positive effect on your mood and reduce your anxiety.

Improved cognitive performance

Do you find your attention waning after a couple of hours focused on a task? Well, that’s completely normal. In order to perform cognitive tasks including analyzing, planning and organizing information, we need to pay attention. When we are tired, or after significant and prolonged mental activity, our attention starts to wander and our cognitive performance decreases.

Being in nature allows our minds to rest and reset, thus restoring our attention. Just a couple seconds or minutes is enough. We don’t even have to be outdoors to have a more focused mind. Just looking outside a window, mindfully looking at tree branches, the color of its leaves, or listening and gazing at the birds will do the trick.

Improved sleep quality

After a poor night’s sleep, you may notice that you have trouble concentrating. You may also feel irritable. These may be temporary inconveniences at best. If you experience poor sleep on a regular basis; however, you are at increased risk of developing a number of medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and mood disorders. You are also more prone to die earlier. In fact, if you sleep 5 hours or less a night, your risk of dying from all causes increases by 15%.

Research shows that spending more time in nature can improve your sleep quality, particularly if you are over the age of 65. This effect is driven by resetting your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural clock, to a more natural sleep cycle. In today’s world, our circadian rhythm can be behind on average 2 hours, and this can wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep.

And you don’t have to necessarily spend time outside to reap the benefits of connecting with nature. Even just sleeping in a room with smells from essential oils, nature sounds, or a window showing a natural landscape can improve sleep quality.

Bringing all together

Try to find at least 2 hours per week to reap the mental and physical health benefits of nature. Ideally you should target an average of 20 minutes outdoors per day, truly being mindful or learning how to visualize nature while indoors.

If you live in a city, it will be tougher to carve out time to connect with nature. Do not give up, here some tips:

  • Spend part of your lunch break taking a walk or just sitting by a tree
  • Spend part of your weekend strolling in your neighbourhood park
  • In summer, take a sandwich and go for a picnic
  • When it’s time to go to bed, replace screen time with calming nature sounds or images
  • Have some plants and pictures of nature at your home and office
  • Be mindful of nature, connect using your 5 senses; sight, smell, sound, taste and touch
  • Learn about forest bathing

Explore and connect with nature as a path to discover your true nature!

4 Natural Ways to Control Adrenaline, your Energy Booster

Did you know that adrenaline, an essential booster of mental and body energy, can also trigger the ‘fight and flight’ response, causing stress and potentially getting you in trouble?

When you’re about to give a presentation, your throat is suddenly parched, and your heart begins to pound … that’s adrenaline kicking in.

When you have a deadline fast approaching and your feel sweaty palms, your feel a knot in your throat and can’t think clearly … that’s adrenaline rushing through your vessels.

What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced in your adrenal glands; those found on top of your kidneys. It is produced when you face a situation that requires an immediate increase of energy: a tiger threatening your life. Epinephrine is also a medication that emergency doctors inject to patients with a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction, also called anaphylaxis, or a when the heart stops beating. It immediately opens up airways in the lung and narrows blood vessels, normalizing breathing and heart rhythm.

 

Adrenaline and the stress response

When you face emotional, physical, or mental stress, adrenaline is released. In a healthy person, adrenaline expands your oxygen intake to your muscles. This happens because blood is squeezed from the skin and internal organs and rerouted to major muscles, preparing the body to flee a danger or fight it. Adrenaline increases the production of glucose in the liver while reducing insulin release by the pancreas, leading to improved muscle function, you feel stronger.

Your nervous system is able to decrease pain, increasing your ability to keep fighting despite injuries. Simultaneously, an adrenaline rush heightens your sensory perception, letting you enjoy every second of sky diving or watching a horror movie.

 

Impact of increased adrenaline

Craving for an adrenaline rush may lead to misusing prescription medications, drugs or seeking ‘hyperventilating’ activities. Your mind and body may ‘enjoy’ stressful situations, even confrontation or dangerous activities.

When you have high levels of adrenaline, you’ll feel agitated and irritable. Over time, high levels of adrenaline can lead to insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure that your adrenaline levels are under control.

At some point the mind may be use stress and anxiety to keep adrenaline rushing into your bloodstream. on the other hand, a mind full of worry and thoughts will have a hard time falling asleep, this would drive an increase of adrenaline leading to insomnia.

 

You can control your adrenaline levels by focusing on stress management. Here are 4 simple ways to naturally control your adrenaline levels.

 

Know thy self

Sometimes, we’re stressed out because we don’t know our limits, we lack long-term self-confidence and look for a quick fix, an adrenaline rush. For instance, being a yes-person, unable to say no to others. When you have a stressful job, and you’re taking care of an ailing parent at home, but someone comes along and asks if you can coach your daughter’s soccer team. Instead of saying no, you go ahead and say yes. This may help you feel good momentarily but adds unnecessary stress to your already full plate.

To learn about your limits, practice self-reflection and you progressively will feel being more self-assertive. Also, engage in role-playing, practice being a naysayer, which will give you the confidence and experience to be able to say no assertively, yet gracefully.

 

Be truly social

Having social support helps lower your stress levels. When you have a solid social network system, you don’t feel alone, and you have people with whom you can unburden your stressors.

In today’s world, we are lonelier than ever despite being more connected digitally. It just may be that we need more face-to-face interactions.

There are a number of ways to develop good social support. For instance, get out and volunteer. By volunteering, you not only help others, you also get to meet other people with similar values as yourself. Another way you can develop good social engagements is by getting involved with your community association. joining a gym or religious organization. By being less isolated, you’ll not only feel less stressed, but happier as well.

 

Go for a walk

To reduce your risk of adrenaline addiction, it’s important to balance stimulating with relaxing activities.  After a stressful situation, move towards an unchallenging, systematic, routine task to allow adrenaline blood levels to drop. Going for a walk around the block and focusing on the environment is a well-established recipe to decompress.

When you’re facing a looming deadline at work, or a challenging relationship with your loved ones, the last thing you want to do is to move, exercise, challenge your body. Yet, it’s extremely beneficial.

When you make time to exercise, you give your mind a break from the stressor. As a result, you come back rejuvenated and ready to tackle the stressor head on, or even have a completely different perspective on the stressor. Also, when you exercise, you release endorphins, the feel-good hormones.

 

Get enough sleep

Have you noticed how much smoother your day goes by when you get enough sleep? When you get enough sleep, you’re more relaxed and are better able to handle stress.

Getting enough sleep will let your mind and body normalize adrenaline and several other hormones and neurotransmitters. One way you can ensure you’re getting enough sleep is by practicing good sleep hygiene habits. For instance, make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Instead of scrolling through social media at night, read a good book.

Another good practice to ensure you’re getting enough sleep is to let go of the day’s worries. You can do so by focusing on your senses to distract your mind while in bed, practicing sensorial mindfulness or mindful framing.

 

Life has its fair share of challenges and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by them. By practising stress management techniques, you can not only lower your reliance on short-term adrenaline rushes, but lower your tendency to be overwhelmed by life’s challenges as well.

4 Natural Boosters of Oxytocin, our Emotional Glue

Can you imagine a workplace full of intelligent machines and robots but no warmth, no emotional bonding? This environment can be very productive but psychologically devastating. We are human beings, not human doings. We need to be emotionally connected with family, friends, coworkers, even with pets, to achieve mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

When we hold hands with our loved one and have a feel-good sensation throughout our bodies – that’s the hormone oxytocin kicking in.

When we regularly distrust other people’s intentions and withdraw from them, it may signal a deficit of oxytocin.

What is oxytocin?             

Oxytocin is a hormone that is formed in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain important for controlling many bodily functions.

Without oxytocin, we would become extinct- literally; it is essential in human reproduction. Oxytocin is necessary for contraction of the womb during delivery, as well as breastfeeding.

Oxytocin is also important for our social wellbeing. It helps us bond with others and maintain eye contact with them, remember faces, show empathy, trust others, have a sense of self-worth and good social skills. We feel more connected and in tune with others.

Oxytocin improves our tolerance to pain and reduces stress and anxiety by controlling the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.

If we have low levels of oxytocin, we may be afraid, anxious, depressed, and aggressive toward others.

 

Oxytocin as a drug

Oxytocin, which means ‘quick birth’ in Greek, is used as the prescription drug Pitocin to induce labour and reduce bleeding after delivery.

Oxytocin has also been used to improve symptoms of Asperger syndrome, autism and schizophrenia. Additionally, it has been shown to help with withdrawal from alcohol and drugs.

These are 4 simple ways to naturally boost our oxytocin levels.

 

Physical and emotional love

Life is busy. With work, running errands, looking after kids, preparing supper… the list goes on, the last thing in your mind at the end of the day is to cuddle with your partner.

Oxytocin helps us stick together creating emotional bonds. A study conducted in men found that those who were given a dose of intranasal oxytocin were more interested in emotional instead of physical bonding when meeting for the first time an attractive woman.

What’s more, physical proximity with our loved one releases oxytocin. Studies show that oxytocin increases our sex drive. When we make love, we also feel less anxious, calmer, and have an improved sense of overall wellbeing, these are effects of oxytocin.

 

Mindful listening

Have you ever felt the weight of the world drop right off your shoulders after listening to soothing music? This is because our brains produce more oxytocin when we listen mindfully to a bird’s song, natural sounds or relaxing music.

Mindfulness meditation and mindful framing have been shown to increase serotonin levels with regular practice. Anyone can benefit from just a few minutes of self reflection in a quiet place, listening to silence or soothing sounds.

So, take a break, relax and listen to some classical, jazz or smooth music, whatever tunes you find soothing for your soul, and watch your cares melt away.

 

Body massage

Do you feel stiffness in your neck? A massage may be just what the doctor ordered! Research shows that oxytocin levels increase both in the person receiving the massage, as well as in the person giving the massage!

When you get a massage your anxiety level decreases, your sense of well-being improves, you feel less pain, and your cortisol and blood pressure level drop- all effects of oxytocin.

So, go ahead and treat yourself to a massage, even a self massage- you deserve it!

 

Pets

Dogs have been called man’s best friend for a reason- they provide us with unconditional love, and don’t take much to please!

Having a pet at home makes us feel less lonely, forces us to leave the couch, and even helps us develop relationships with others, all factors that lead to emotional wellbeing. It’s no wonder that so many people talk about dogs and cats as if they were real people!

Did you know that petting a dog releases oxytocin? It also boosts dopamine and serotonin- other feel-good hormones, while decreasing stress-producing cortisol.

 

Life is too short to live in fear and distrust. By naturally boosting our oxytocin levels, we can feel a deeper connection with others and increase of sense of self worth. Take a first step today and follow the path to more meaningful, deeper relationships.