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Bon Appétit! Cook For Your Friends To Relax Your Brain

April 25, 2019 Silvia Damiano

After a long day’s work, spending an evening with friends is an excellent way to unwind, relax, and let your brain have a respite. Pleasant conversation, tasty food, and a nice beverage allow the mind to stop worrying about work or other problems and instead focus on the present. What’s preventing you from being a generous host and cooking for your friends?


Friendship bonds are seen in nearly all realms of human social interactions, and also in highly social animal species. Disrupting these bonds can be detrimental to our health, and neuroscience is seeking to explore the biochemistry behind friendship.

Oxytocin is often known as the “mommy hormone”, but this isn’t the full truth. Oxytocin does play a major role in childbirth and breastfeeding, but males and females produce it. Oxytocin also influences functions including social bonding and sexual activity.

As a neurotransmitter in the brain, oxytocin is incredibly potent. Fortunately, we can feel the surge of oxytocin in many ways that do not involve childbirth! Spending time with your friends & people you love can give you the oxytocin high your brain craves.


Life can be stressful. There are moments when it seems like the sun will never shine again because of something occurring at work or home.

Friends are more important than ever in times like this. You may put on a merry face for strangers or even people you work with or live with, but friends know when you need them if you only reach out.

Your leadership journey will be more fulfilling with people who love you at your side. When you show generosity to others, you’ll be more likely to be respected and increase collaboration. High levels of collaboration positively impact business culture by improving relationships and nurturing people’s growth. Why not extend these benefits into your personal life?

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

J.R.R. Tolkien


You don’t need a reason to bring friends (and family!) together. And you don’t need to plan a huge affair to enjoy each others’ company. Keep it simple and enjoy yourself. Consider these tips to have a stress-free and relaxing time with friends.

  • Don’t have time to prepare part of the meal? Order it out! If you really want to serve a smoked ham, but you have no idea (or inclination) of how to prepare one, call around. Many catering companies will be happy to oblige, but don’t forget to ask at your own butcher or market, too.

  • Go local if you can. Plan to spend a little time at a local farmer’s market or roadside stand to see what might inspire you. Plus, eating fresh and local is always a great thing!

  • Pick foods you know. It’s OK to experiment, but you probably won’t deliver a perfect beef bourguignon on the first try. Stick with things you know, especially for a larger group.

  • Make as much of it as you can ahead of time. Plan to serve cold or room-temperature appetisers, make a salad in advance and add dressing and crunchy bits at the last minute, and keep sides warming in the oven. You want to spend time with your guests, after all!

  • Keep dietary needs in mind. Whether it’s allergies, religious obligations, or personal preference, keep the nutritional needs of your friends in mind. There are thousands of recipes on the Internet that can cater to any requirements.

  • Be considerate with alcohol. Not everyone drinks alcoholic beverages, so have other options for your guests who prefer not to.

  • Set the mood! Seasonal flowers, lights on a string, and soft music help create a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy good food and good conversation.

Take a leap and experience how generosity can improve collaboration and relationships, opening the possibilities to new ideas, thoughts and feelings. By cooking for your friends, you show those you love that you value them and their conversation.

Expand your Generosity  Ever wondered how you can display more generosity in your life? New advances  from different scientific fields are helping us better understand how our  brains and bodies function and the incredible impact they have on the way we  lead.  Learn how our i4 Neuroleader Program can help develop your personal leadership. Download Program Guide


1. Magon N, Kalra S. The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011;15(Suppl3):S156-S161. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.84851.

Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist and filmmaker. Silvia is the Founder & CEO of the About my Brain Institute, creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology, author of ‘Leadership is Upside Down’ and director of the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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