You May Also Like

10 mind-blowing things I learned at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference

The healthy beauty secret that all supermodels live by, according to Veronica Webb

The beauty queen Donald Trump used as a “fat” punchline is not backing down

The one thing you might be forgetting about that could help you fulfill your life’s purpose

My wellness hangover: How “empowering” memes bummed me out

Yes, even the healthiest women get breast cancer

10 proven ways to cultivate more love in your life

loveBy Mandy Oaklander for

If you’re a hopeless romantic, you might not want to read this. Science is about to dash every fairy tale you’ve ever read.

Turns out, one little molecule might be the biological basis for love. It’s a hormone called oxytocin, and it’s the subject of a new book called The Moral Molecule by Paul Zak, PhD, professor of economic psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University. As a neuroeconomist, he seems an unlikely candidate for the title of Dr. Love—“I’m a nerd and I love to be in my lab avoiding humans,” he tells us—but he’s one of the world’s foremost experts on the love molecule.

Here’s a boost for Team Romantic: Love does lead to happily ever after, says Dr. Zak. “There’s a very clear mapping from positive social relationships back to health,” he says. More oxytocin means less cardiovascular stress and an improved immune system.

But here’s where fairy tales and science differ: You don’t need a thunderbolt to feel the love—there are easy ways to take matters into your own hands and train your brain to release more oxytocin. Sex and cuddling are the ones you probably know about (and feel free to do more of that, too) but if you’re looking for fun outside of the bedroom, here are 10 ways to boost oxytocin:

1. Hug it out. If you meet Dr. Zak, the first thing he’ll do is give you a hug. “I just refuse to handshake at all,” he says. Even among strangers, hugging releases oxytocin, he says. Last year, Dr. Zak spread the hugging bug to hardened New Yorkers at an event called Love Night, where strangers were encouraged to hug one another. “If it works on 500 random New Yorkers, it’ll work for you,” Dr. Zak says.

Keep reading for 9 more oxytocin-boosting tips…

More reading from

8 ways your diet’s aging you
3  natural remedies for depression
7 fruity summer salads