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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Lim Sock Ling and Dr Eki Wari on January 12, 2023

Celebrate Love This Valentine’s Day With Random Acts Of Kindness

Did you know that performing random acts of kindness boosts your levels of the love hormone oxytocin? Check out these health-inspired ways to celebrate Valentine's Day this year.

Valentines day min scaled

Doing random acts of kindness is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. In fact, helping other people isn’t just a nice thing to do. It has numerous health benefits for you, too!

According to a recent study, people who help others increase their production of oxytocin, known as the “love” hormone. Oxytocin has been shown to boost mood and help you live longer.

Read on to learn more about how oxytocin impacts the body and tips for performing random acts of kindness to support health and longevity this Valentine’s Day.

How Do Random Acts Of Kindness Affect Your Health?

A young woman volunteering at a soup kitchen for the homeless
Volunteering or doing charity work is a good way to spread kindness this Valentine’s Day.

Random acts of kindness refer to doing non-premediated nice or helpful things for people you may or may not know. Examples may include paying for a stranger’s coffee at your local coffee shop, volunteering for a charity, or saying hello to and complimenting people you encounter throughout your day.

Doing so may increase your production of oxytocin, according to a recent study. Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Its main function is to facilitate the reproductive system, from sex drive and orgasms to childbirth and lactation, as well as other aspects of human interaction.

“Oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects, such as reducing blood pressure and cortisol levels. It also increases tolerance to pain, exerts an anxiolytic-like effect, and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. Additionally, it promotes growth and healing. These health benefits are especially useful as we age when we would then be more prone to hypertension, anxiety, and detached from the social world.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Lim Sock Ling

Physician Lim stated that an individual with low levels of oxytocin may experience the following symptoms:

  • Poor communication
  • Irritability and inability to feel affectionate 
  • More anxieties and fear than normal
  • Sexual interactions that are less emotional, more mechanical and fulfill a basic need only
  • Difficulty achieving orgasms 
  • Bigger appetite for sugar-rich foods 
  • Feeling little joy from life 
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Muscles aches 

Random Acts Of Kindness Ideas That Boost Oxytocin

This Valentine’s Day, try taking a healthy approach to random acts of kindness and help boost oxytocin levels in yourself as well as those around you. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Drink a cup of chamomile tea

Chamomile is a Chinese herb that has been traditionally used for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It also promotes the production of oxytocin. Animal studies show that chamomile contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs.”

Physician Lim.

Do yoga with your partner

“In a small study in 2013, the 15 schizophrenia participants who practiced yoga for one month saw improvements in their ability to recognize emotions and socio-occupational functioning. They also had higher levels of oxytocin. The researchers suggest that a link could exist between these findings, though their study didn’t find a correlation,” Physician Lim stated.

Listen to or play music

In a study in 2009, 20 open-heart surgery patients who listened to music while on bed rest had higher levels of oxytocin and felt more relaxed than patients who didn’t listen to music.

Try a tuina massage

“A 2012 study on 95 adults suggested that 15 minutes of massage could not only help people relax, but it could also boost oxytocin levels. The same logic can be applied to TCM tuina. It involves administering appropriate tuina techniques to help increase blood circulation and promote muscle relaxation, including helping the mind and body to relax,” suggested Physician Lim. 

If you like using massage oil, you can consider a high-quality massage oil with TCM herbs to help soothe stress and anxiety and ease muscle pain. 

Show your affection (but maybe not with strangers!)

Two young children kissing their grandma on each cheek
Spending time with loved ones can help boost oxytocin levels.

“Share your love and affection by communicating to your loved ones or expressing your affection with physical intimacy, such as kissing and hugging. Spending time with friends also helps you feel happier and supported. This includes active listening and catching up over a meal. These interactions trigger oxytocin release. Sexual intimacy is another way to boost oxytocin levels for both you and your partner,” stated Physician Lim.

Meditation and acupuncture

“Meditate to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and help you feel more compassion toward yourself and others. These effects can go a long way toward increasing your sense of connection with others,” stated Physician Lim.

You can also try acupuncture. Studies on the effects of acupuncture and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed that acupuncture may improve the behavioral symptoms of autism by directly up-regulating the level of oxytocin in the hypothalamus. It also increases the level of oxytocin in the key regions of the regulatory reward system in the brain. 

Random Acts Of Kindness Benefit Everyone

Valentine’s Day is not just for people who are married or in a relationship. Performing random acts of kindness this Valentine’s Day benefits your health and theirs. The gesture doesn’t have to be big or expensive, and the impact it has on a stranger can last a lifetime. 

How do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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