1. Say the L word
And don't just reserve it for your sweetie. 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.
2. Treat your friend
Take a pal to dinner. That little gift will start a virtuous feel-good cycle.
3. Host a walking meeting
have proven that exercising with a friend makes for a better workout, it makes for a happier one, too. If we apply
the same strategy to the office by taking lab mates on a hike in
the foothills of your local state park every month, for example, "The moderate stress [of
hiking] will make the bonding experience better," .
4. 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," —it's part of the reason why policemen and soldiers have such
extraordinarily strong bonds.
5. Bust a move
There's nothing quite like partnered dancing
to get your oxytocin fix. In one experiment, the Drs. drew the blood of
dancers before and after a night of dancing. They 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.
6. Sing karaoke
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.
7. Watch a tearjerker
Seeing a powerful movie is the best
oxytocin releaser . 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.
8. Modify your handshake
into hugging your mailman or job interviewer? Touch is still important. I suggest a modified handshake: One hand over the other. Making
eye contact also makes the connection more powerful.
9. Hug it out
If you meet some huggers, the first thing they'll do
is give you a hug. "I just refuse to handshake at all," one hugger says. Even
among strangers, hugging releases oxytocin.
10. Check Facebook
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.
"We're a connective species: The more interaction, the better." (And the