Oxytocin isn't just for giving birth and breastfeeding. As I discuss in The Moral Molecule, my research has discovered many activities that cause people's brains to release oxytocin--even the brains of complete strangers. But here's the key: oxytocin is the brain's love chemical and just like love, you have to give it to get it. By that I mean, you can do things that will cause someone else's brain to release oxytocin, but you can't do this selfishly. Give freely to others and when their brains release oxytocin they will want to reciprocate and give back to you.

Here are some of my favorite ways to cause oxytocin release in others. If you've found an activity you think releases oxytocin, add it to the list!

• Give someone a hug
• Introduce yourself to someone new
• Make someone smile by being silly
• Share a meal
• Dance
• Make music with someone
• Join a choir
• Kiss
• Give someone a massage

• Go to the movies
• Ride a roller coaster
• Soak in a hot tub with a friend
• Surprise someone with a gift
• Pet a dog
• Use social media to connect to others
• Take a hike with a friend
• Write a note of thanks to a teacher or mentor
• Forgive someone who has wronged you
• Meditate or pray for 10 minutes focusing on    compassion


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