I caught up with my good friend over dinner tonight, and as per usual, she gave me a big bear hug and kissed me when she saw me, and did the same when we parted ways. I can always count on her to increase my levels of oxytocin and make me feel loved and appreciated. She’s been like this ever since we first met when we were 11; this is one of a handful of things that has not changed about her at all. And I love it. With her, I always feel loved and appreciated, like I belong. It’s probably a big part of why we’ve been friends so long; her level of affection towards me.
I thought about this today after I spoke with a colleague of mine who has been plagued by stress, mostly caused by work. His sleep has been really poor in the last few weeks, and he will occasionally wake up with his arms and/or his legs crossed and feel awkward. Increasing oxytocin levels is actually supposed to help decrease stress and improve sleep. Maybe he just needs to be hugged more frequently and by more people?