THE BENEFITS OF HAND HOLDING
Holding hands is a normal everyday activity we see and take part in. It happens between friends, parents and children, and of course romantic relationships. Holding hands may seem passe, but it’s actually very important and it releases needed chemicals in the brain. It also signifies a healthy relationship in couples. All in all, there are several benefits of hand holding backed up by many years of research for all types of human relationships.
Holding hands with someone, even a stranger, can decrease the stress hormone called Cortisol. Actually, even just skin on skin contact with another human being can be relieving in stressful situation. The largest concentration of nerve endings is in the hand and fingers and when Cortisol is coursing through your bloodstream, it makes your skin more sensitive to touch. That proves we as humans need to be touched.
While relieving stress, holding hands also relieves pain. Often times, when watching a sitcom when someone has gone into labor, you see their significant other holding their hand (and often passing out for comedic effect). Humans have a natural reflex to tighten their muscles while feeling pain. It’s second nature to grasp someone’s hand when you’re in pain.
Holding hands also fights fear. Personally, I remember being terrified of thunderstorms and my mom would hold my hand and then I would fall asleep in her arms. When you’re watching a thriller with bae and it’s too scary for you to handle, you grasp your partner tightly and then suddenly you’re less scared. Your brain responds to very sudden stimulation with adrenaline. During those scary moments, your second nature is to hold hands with someone.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HUGGING
Hugs are a wonderful way of showing someone that you care. Whether you’re in a romantic relationship, or you’re just comforting someone, hugs are one of the best ways to make someone feel safe and secure. There are several benefits of hugging that are backed up by scientific research. It reduces stress, boosts oxytocin (a hormone produced by the pituitary gland; often called the love hormone), help protect against illnesses, boosts heart health, and makes you happier.
Hugs reduce stress and therefore strengthen the immune system by releasing chemicals in the brain. Hugs make you feel safe and secure because of the natural feeling of being held as an infant. Actually, in 1944, US scientists conducted an experiment on forty newborn babies to see if humans could survive alone psychologically without affection. Half of the infants were kept in a facility with caregivers who would feed, bathe, change diapers but nothing else. They were even instructed not to look or touch more than what was necessary. They were not allowed to speak around the infants either. The other half was kept elsewhere and were allowed to be touched and talked to. The experiment was brought to a stop when half of the babies had died. They were extremely healthy in all physical ways. Before the babies had passed away, there was a period of a kind of depression where the infants had stopped engaging with their environment; they would stop moving, hold the same blank expression, and stop crying. Essentially they had given up. And death would soon follow. This is much like humans who have grown past infantile stage. Our natural instinct is to be held.
It’s even backed up by science. Human nature is to interact with other humans, not just verbally, but physically. Go out and hug someone. Show that you care.
"10 Reasons Why We Need At Least 8 Hugs A Day." mindbodygreen. N.p., 2018. Web. 6 Oct. 2018.
"Why You Should Get (And Give) More Hugs." Healthline. N.p., 2018. Web. 6 Oct. 2018.
"The Definition Of Oxytocin." www.dictionary.com. N.p., 2018. Web. 6 Oct. 2018.
"US Experiment On Infants Withholding Affection." Values Exchange. N.p., 2018. Web. 6 Oct. 2018.