Oxytocin Becomes Part of Sex Ed
Fascinating and Strange

Journaling Can Provoke an Oxytocin Response

The top question among most of us who are interested in oxytocin is, "How can I get more of it?" I always try to promote natural ways to get an oxytocin rush, instead of buying probably-useless products over the internet.

A new study, published last month and reported by Science Daily, points to still another way: writing about your values and core beliefs.

Jennifer Crocker and Yu Niiya from the University of Michigan and Dominik Mischkowski from the University of Konstanz in Germany, followed up on a different study that showed coffee drinkers were more open to hearing information about why it's bad for you if they had first written about their most important value. Crocker and Niiya wanted to understand what caused this effect.

They did two experiments. First, they had people write for ten minutes; half the subjects wrote about their most important value, the other half about their least important value. Then, they rated how much love or empathy they felt afterwards.

In the second experiment, smokers and non-smokers did the same writing exercise, and then they read an article about the harm of smoking to your health. The people who had written about an important value felt more loving and they were also less defensive about the negative info on smoking.

They didn't test the subjects' blood, but the researchers think that oxytocin is what made the difference. According to the article,

The researchers speculate that the love and connection people feel after writing about important values could affect hormones related to care giving, such as oxytocin. Because oxytocin increases trust, it might account for reduced defensiveness in people who take a few minutes to reflect on their important values.

James Pennebaker has shown that writing about things that bother you can boost your immune system's functioning. A release of oxytocin also could explain that effect.

So, before you spend $49.95, sit down and think about what matters to you -- and write it down.