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How To Be A Better Lover

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If you're a hopeless romantic, you might not want to read this. Science is about to dash every fairy tale you've ever read. 

Turns out, one little molecule might be the biological basis for love. It's a hormone called oxytocin, and it’s the subject of the book called The Moral Molecule by Paul Zak, PhD, professor of economic psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University. As a neuroeconomist, he seems an unlikely candidate for the title of Dr. Love—"I'm a nerd and I love to be in my lab avoiding humans," he tells us—but he's one of the world's foremost experts on the love molecule.

Here's a boost for Team Romantic: Love does lead to happily ever after, says Dr. Zak. "There's a very clear mapping from positive social relationships back to health," he says. More oxytocin means less cardiovascular stress and an improved immune system.

But here's where fairy tales and science differ: You don't need a thunderbolt to feel the love—there are easy ways to take matters into your own hands and train your brain to release more oxytocin. Sex and cuddling are the ones you probably know about (and feel free to do more of that, too) but if you’re looking for fun outside of the bedroom, here are 10 ways to boost oxytocin.

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1. Hug it out

If you meet Dr. Zak, the first thing he'll do is give you a hug. "I just refuse to handshake at all," he says. Even among strangers, hugging releases oxytocin, he says. Last year, Dr. Zak spread the hugging bug to hardened New Yorkers at an event called Love Night, where strangers were encouraged to hug one another. "If it works on 500 random New Yorkers, it'll work for you," Dr. Zak says.

More from Prevention: The No-Fail Happiness Trick You Need To Try

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2. Modify your handshake

Not into hugging your mailman or job interviewer? Touch is still important. Dr. Zak suggests a modified handshake: One hand over the other. Making eye contact also makes the connection more powerful.

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3. Watch a tearjerker

Seeing a powerful movie is the best oxytocin releaser Dr. Zak has found to date. Here's some context: When oxytocin is increased by 10-20%, noticeable behavior changes—like feeling more relaxed—result. Watching an emotionally compelling movie makes oxytocin surge 47%. Why? Our brains process the plot and characters as if they were in the room with us, Dr. Zak says.

More from Prevention:How To Connect In A Disconnected World

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4. Sing karaoke

Belting out show tunes, singing in a choir, or even doing karaoke is an instant oxytocin trigger, but only if you're doing it with other people, Dr. Zak says.

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5. Bust a move

There's nothing quite like partnered dancing to get your oxytocin fix. In one experiment, Dr. Zak drew the blood of dancers before and after a night of dancing. He found that the oxytocin levels of the dancers rose 11%, regardless of age or gender. They also reported feeling closer to others and closer to "something bigger than themselves," even though the evening had nothing to do with religion. (Try the tango and 6 other types of dance to also bust stress.)

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6. Thrill yourself

Want to feel closer with someone? Take them bungee jumping, rollercoaster riding, or out to see a scary flick. "Doing something thrilling is a great way to connect with somebody," Dr. Zak says—it's part of the reason why policemen and soldiers have such extraordinarily strong bonds.

More from Prevention:Is This The Life You're Meant To Live?

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7. Host a walking meeting

Studies have proven that exercising with a friend makes for a better workout, and Dr. Zak would argue that it makes for a happier one, too. He applies the same strategy to the office by taking his lab mates on a hike in the foothills of California every month. "The moderate stress [of hiking] will make the bonding experience better," he says. (Get motivated with theseWalk Your Butt Off!success stories.)

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8. Treat your friend
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9. Say the L word

And don't just reserve it for your sweetie, says Dr. Zak. Love can be familial, spiritual, or friendly. Say it—and you're very likely to hear it back if you do—and then demonstrate it, he says.

More from Prevention:How Love Keeps You Healthy

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10. Check Facebook

Social media is often heralded as the end to meaningful interaction, but science sees it differently. While studying people's oxytocin levels after using Facebook and Twitter, Dr. Zak saw oxytocin release in every participant in each of his three experiments. Though in-person interactions are much richer, he says, there’s room for the Internet.






Video: 8 Essential Tips For Being A Much Better Lover

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Date: 01.12.2018, 04:20 / Views: 64364