To borrow a phrase: love works in mysterious ways.
We are born to love and, as it turns out, love and affection are necessary for both optimal positive emotional and physical development.
And to be honest, nothing feels better than giving your loved one a warm embrace –or being on the receiving end.
Role of Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter the hypothalamus produces and the pituitary gland secretes. Scientists first identified and observed it in 1906. (1)
Oxytocin is essential in the process of childbirth in mammals, stimulating uterine contractions and lactation. Later studies found its role a much deeper and far-reaching one that affects social interaction and bonding between people. Scientists call it “the love hormone“.
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As Psychology Today explains “…As a facilitator of bonding among those who share similar characteristics, the hormone fosters distinctions between in-group and out-group members, and sets in motion favoritism toward in-group members and prejudice against those in out-groups. Ongoing research on the hormone is a potent reminder of the complexity of biological and psychological systems.“ (2)
This special hormone is present in both sexes, stimulating all aspects of the reproductive process, beginning with trust and sexual arousal. (3, 4) Oxytocin stimulates pleasure and reward centers and is the neurological basis for social bonding, especially with the people closest to you.