“It’s making me feel anxious” is a line that gets muttered far to often in this day and age if I am honest, so much is making us feel anxious. Social media, the pace of life and the pressure we seem to see ourselves under. Whether you actually suffer from anxiety or depression or just feel these emotions on a different level, it is becoming increasingly normal for more and more people to feel stress on some level.
A study in the medical journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found a connection between the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin and decreased anxiety and depression.
Whether it is hugging a loved one or a slightly furrier friend it will release Oxycontin, which will help you feel better. Scientists also found cuddling your baby a lot can prevent them from becoming depressed in the future.
Similarly, studies have found that close proximity to other people can make you feel happier.
“Having this friendly touch, just somebody simply touching our arm and holding it, buffers the physiological consequences of this stressful response,” Matt Hertenstein of DePauw University told NPR.
There are contradicting findings that suggest Oxycontin may actually trigger anxiety. Like previous studies, Oxycontin was found to increase stressed male mice’s ‘motivation for social interaction’, but for stressed females it had no effect. For non-stressed females on the other hand it reduced social motivation.
“Our results show that stressed females have both reduced social motivation and increased oxytocin. It’s possible that oxytocin might contribute to a depression-like syndrome in females,” Dr. Trainor said.
Personally, I am all for the cuddle technique and there is nothing better than going home to be greeted at the front door by my cat or dog (or boyfriend!).