Oxytocin – the ‘love hormone’ is named so because it helps strengthen the bond between you and your partner and is also responsible for the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you are with them!
Researchers have known for a long time that the hormone is released when things get intimate, like when you hug your sweetheart or during a heated make-out session.
However, recent research has shown that oxytocin doesn’t only shoot up during intimate moments with a partner: everyday activities can boost levels of the hormone and help strengthen a relationship.
Art and games
Take things like playing a board game or making art with a partner. The researchers found that when couples did these things together – for just one hour – their oxytocin levels went up. As a result, a small, everyday activity helped strengthen their romantic bond.
What is it about these activities that did it? Oxytocin levels increased the most while couples were painting together. One reason could be that they used the art session as a good excuse to touch each other and give positive feedback, say the researchers.
Where you play or make art is also important, the study showed. When the couples were somewhere new – like at an art class versus at home or in a familiar place –more oxytocin was released.
So what’s the take-home message from this research? Playing together is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your partner. It doesn’t have to be a board game or an art class.
Most important – the activity doesn’t have to last very long.
What matters is getting creative when it comes to thinking up activities to do together. That, and the more touch the better. Putting your arm around your partner, holding his or her hand, or the occasional smooch can do the trick.
Also, try heading somewhere that’s not familiar: what’s new, for both of you, is proven to boost levels of the love hormone.
Reference: Examining Couple Recreation and Oxytocin via the Ecology of Family Experiences Framework. Journal of Marriage and Family. Published on February 12, 2019.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.
What are some of the activities you enjoy with your partner? Comment below or share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.