It sounds like it could be the plot of a mid 1980’s teen comedy: stereotypical über shy science nerd discovers an elixir to make him more sociable and outgoing, perhaps even giving him the courage to win the heart of Miss. Popular. While this scenario is pure fantasy, it may just be some lucky chap’s reality if he takes a sniff of oxytocin—a hormone that researchers believe can turn introverts into extroverts.
Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” since it’s naturally released during sex, after child birth, and sometimes through touch, oxytocin has already been linked to improving the social skills of those diagnosed with Autism. However, a new study suggests that the hormone can also positively affect non-autistic individuals, not only improving social skills but also increase levels of trust and openness.
To formulate their conclusions, Canadian researchers from Concordia University tested about 100 men and women, all non-smokers who did not have a history of mental disorders nor took any prescribed or recreational drugs. The participants were then evenly separated into two groups: one was required to actually inhale the hormone via a nasal spray; the other was given a placebo. Ninety minutes later, researchers evaluated participants for any signs of neuroticism, conscientiousness extraversion, openness to new experiences, and agreeableness.
The group that took the nasal spray reported to be less introverted, more trusting of others, and more open to new ideas. However, it did not affect the participants’ from ridding their self-consciousness or low-self esteem if those sentiments were already present. Of course, it’s important to note that the study did not require participants to actually immerse themselves in a sociable setting—rather these were internal feelings the participants experienced. Thus while this sounds promising for individuals that are socially awkward, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be cured with oxytocin—but it may help.
Currently oxytocin nasal spray is only available through a prescription, however like mentioned before there are some ways to increase the levels of this hormone naturally in the body. To check out a few ways on how to do this, continue reading below:
Talk on the Phone with Mom. Another fairly recent study says that simply calling your mother when you’re stressed or seeking comfort can lower your cortisol levels (a stress hormone that can cause cardiovascular diseases) while simultaneously increasing oxytocin levels. However the study stresses that actually hearing your mother’s voice is the true key—texting will not provide the same results.
Get in the Horizontal Position. Like previously mentioned, sex is a great way to increase your oxytocin levels since it’s released when you reach orgasm. It’s the hormone that prompts couples to cuddle with their mates after the act and helps them build trust with one another—an important factor in maintaining a strong relationship.
Pet Your Dog. Even simply showing your dog some affection and petting them can also release oxytocin, some studies say.
Jane Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes about criminal background check for Backgroundcheck.org. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161 @ gmail.com