We all know that relationships, social connections, and social capital are good for us and that we benefit greatly from these friendships, but often don't know the essence of this value. If you dig a bit deeper however, you will find that at the core of this value is the hormone, Oxytocin. As I try to learn more about social capital it is clear to me that through our social capital we benefit from the positive effects is Oxytocin. So, just what does this hormone do.
Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reduces anxiety and enhances security. It heightens social recognition and promotes a sense of pair-bonding. We know that trust is increased by oxytocin, and trust is one of the core variables in our covenant relationship zone.
A recent study by Dr. Marazziti found that positive social interactions may directly influence health by lessening inflammation and allowing a better sense of healing. This further corroborates the medicinal effect of social capital.
Even the simple process of hugging releases oxytocin, enhancing the feelings we have for the person we are hugging. But more, just being with people in a social situation, sharing conversation, exploring new things induces oxytocin. Even singing together has this positive effect.
So, as you think about your relationships, know that there is a chemical foundation that enhances these relationships. To this end I recommend that we hug more, sing more, relate more with those people around us. In the end we are better for these relationships.