Sufferers of depression, anxiety or personality disorders often have higher levels of the ‘stress hormone’ Cortisol in their bodies1. This reduces your happy hormone levels and can impede your ability to form strong social or romantic bonds with those around you2.
How happy hormones work.
When adults have social contact, they release the ‘love hormone’, serotonin, and dopamine. If your cortisol levels are too high, you’ll naturally find it more difficult to feel a connection in social or romantic situations3. But, once happy hormones are released back into the brain, stress and anxiety levels decrease4, helping to emotionally reset those who have been dealing with an imbalance5.
Mood enhancer benefits.
Happy hormones have a number of benefits and this is why depressed and anxious people often continue to feel worse in a debilitating cycle. Mood enhancers can positively impact mental and emotional health, such as improving the ability to relax and trust others. This causes you to have an emotional response that’s positive, which allows you to bond better and experience feelings of intimacy that you otherwise wouldn’t6.
Oxytocin and motherhood.
Happy hormones play a crucial role in how mothers’ bond with their babies. During labor, mothers experience a surge of love hormone which strengthens their bond with their new born baby after birth. Mothers that breastfeed exclusively and do not use any bottles of formula will also see higher levels of love hormone than those that do not. This goes to show just how essential happy hormones are for us to create strong emotional bonds at every stage in life.
- Scott LV, Dinan TG. Urinary free cortisol excretion in chronic fatigue syndrome, major depressive disorder and in healthy volunteers. J Affect Disord; 1998 Jan;47(1-3):49-54
- Uvnas-Moberg K, Petersson M. Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80
- Ditzen B et al. Intranasal oxytocin increases positive communication and reduces cortisol levels during couple conflict. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 1;65(9):728-31
- Guastella et al. A randomized controlled trial of intranasal oxytocin as an adjunct to exposure therapy for social anxiety disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Apr;27(8):1947-56
- Buchheim A et al. Oxytocin enhances the experience of attachment security. Psychoendocrinology. 2009 Oct;34(9):1417-22
- Zak PJ, Kurzban R, Matzner WT. Oxytocin is associated with human trustworthiness. Horm Behav. 2005 Dec;48(5):522-7