Oxytocin doesn’t just renew aging muscles, it can also renew your spirit. Researchers at Duke University have found that men reported a greater sense of spirituality shortly after taking oxytocin and a week later, and that people who took oxytocin also experienced more positive emotions during meditation. All good things. A Duke news release reports that the hormone known as the “love hormone” for its role promoting social bonding, altruism, left the study participants more inclined to view themselves as interconnected with other people and living things, giving higher ratings to statements such as “All life is interconnected” and “There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people.”
The researchers,who gave the hormone to one group and a placebo to another, found that those who got oxytocin were more likely to say afterwards that spirituality was important in their lives and that life has meaning and purpose. This was true after taking into account whether the participant reported belonging to an organized religion or not. The study subjects also participated in a guided meditation, where who received oxytocin reported experiencing more positive emotions during meditation, including awe, gratitude, hope, inspiration, interest, love and serenity. It’s interesting to note that oxytocin did not affect all participants equally, though. Its effect on spirituality was stronger among people with a particular variant of the CD38 gene, a gene that regulates the release of oxytocin from hypothalamic neurons in the brain.
Oxytocin occurs naturally in the body, and is stimulated during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. Can you crank up your oxytocin production? The website Quora offers some advice about that.