Americans are connection deprived. A quarter of Americans live alone and the number of Americans who haven’t had a conversation with a best friend over the previous six months has tripled since 1985 to nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population. This also likely means Americans are running low on oxytocin, a molecule that is associated with empathy, trust, morality and connection.
To learn more about oxytocin, check out Paul Zak’s fascinating TED lecture. Here are just a few interesting points he makes:
- Oxytocin is found only in mammals
- Massage, dancing, sex, social media and praying boost oxytocin
- Empathy boosts oxytocin and, as a result, increases moral behavior
- Con artists learn to manipulate oxytocin levels in people
- Sexual abuse, stress and testosterone inhibit oxytocin production
- Weddings cause the release of oxytocin, especially in the bride and her mother
- The easiest way to boost oxytocin is to hug someone
- Zak prescribes eight hugs a day boost your oxytocin levels and make you happier
Hopefully, one of the above points catches your attention so that you’ll take time to watch the lecture. It’ll be 20 minutes well spent.