woman hugging herself

We are all addicted to love. Not just the idea, not just the feeling, but the neurochemistry of love. The experience of love favorably changes our neurophysiology in both mind and body. When we experience love, our body produces its own natural opiates, endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters.

Among these chemicals is oxytocin, often called our “love hormone” because of its crucial role in mother–child relationships, social bonding, and intimacy (oxytocin levels soar during sex). Oxytocin also modulates the immune system.

Interestingly, oxytocin has also been shown to mitigate fear. When oxytocin is administered to people with certain anxiety disorders, activity declines in the amygdala—the primary fear center in the brain. As a result, people feel less fearful. Thus exogenous oxytocin, along with other fear-reducing compounds in clinical development, may eventually be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other fear-related conditions.

While on lockdown or social distancing, hug yourself, or hug your family (if allowed) or hug your dog or even hug a tree. Hug for 22 seconds every 2 hours. This is how long it takes for your physiology to change, and how frequently you can provide yourself boosts to sustain a steady state of mind. Doing so may change your state of mind from fear to love.