Love is such a powerful emotion. It brings us joy, contentment, pain, and heartbreaks, yet we keep yearning for more. A gesture that marks the beginning of love is holding hands. But what is it that makes holding hands so special? Are there any benefits associated with it? Let’s find out!
Holding hands is a day-to-day activity, be it love or friendship. It ignites a telepathic connection that brings two people closer. Research suggests that holding hands can significantly lower stress, brighten the mood, and amplify bonding.
Here’s all you need to know about the benefits of holding hands. Oh, and don’t skip on this insightful TedTalk by Dr. James Coan on ‘Why We Hold Hands’
10 Benefits of Holding Hands
Decreases Levels of The Stress Hormone
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in situations of stress. It causes stress and anxiety. Excess cortisol levels may also lower immunity.
Holding hands reduces cortisol levels and enhances positive emotions. Holding hands with somebody going through a stressful situation is the correct approach.
The Oxytocin hormone serves its role during labor by inducing uterine contractions. However, this hormone has many more benefits, and you can achieve many of them just by holding hands!
Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone. It helps lower anxiety levels, build trust, encourage bonding, and strengthen connections. Holdings hands can boost Oxytocin levels so that you can enjoy its much-raved perks!
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Holding hands lowers blood pressure, the foremost symptom of various cardiovascular diseases.
By reducing stress and anxiety, our heart is relieved of pain and offered a soothing sensation instead.
This study conducted in 2010 investigated the relationship between holding hands and heart health. The results showed that couples who held hands for 10 minutes were better able to cope with a stressful situation—holding hands significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Strengthens Love and Connections
There is nothing more comforting than someone looking into your eyes, grasping your hands, and telling you that everything is going to be okay.
Holding hands is a non-verbal gesture of pure love and happiness. It will give you the comfort that you have been seeking.
Pain and Stress Reliever
During stress, our muscles contract and give us that rigid, uncomfortable feeling. Holding hands relieves pain by relaxing the muscles.
Hold hands with your loved one whenever you feel scared, depressed, or overwhelmed. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your beau; it can be a friend, a parent, or even a pet!
Helps Combat Fear
When you’re watching a horror movie, you feel a sudden urge to feel protected and caressed, right?
Similarly, daunting situations can be dealt with efficiently; all you have to do is hold hands!
This particularly applies to those suffering from a general anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder.
Some people find it hard to run the most straightforward errands, like buying groceries or attending a birthday party. They feel suffocated and anxious around people. When you spot someone getting socially awkward, offer them a helping hand, literally!
Holding hands makes you feel secure and comfortable; it instantly removes that dense and torrid feeling.
Expression of Pure Affections
Whenever someone holds your hand in sickness or health, it’s because they genuinely love you. Whether it’s your parents, spouse, children, or friends, holding hands is a universal gesture of fondness and adoration.
It makes you feel welcomed, wanted, and upbeat!
Helps Counteract Depression and Loneliness
Holdings hands is associated with a sense of security and belonging. It breaks spells of loneliness and hence waives off consequent depression.
If your partner seems to be going through a rough patch, don’t forget to offer them this therapeutic gesture.
Promotes Interpersonal Synchronization
This is perhaps the most interesting and unfamiliar benefit of holding hands. A study was conducted on 22 heterosexual couples who had been with each other for over a year. They found it comforting holding each other’s hand when mild pain was induced.
Their responses were measured on the Electroencephalogram, and it showed that their brain synchronization was more harmonious when they held hands!
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Who invented holding hands?
The concept of holding hands came into being in 1578 when George Best expressed it in his chronicler ‘A true discourse of the late voyages of discoveries’.
What does holding hands symbolize?
Holding hands is a gesture of love and affection. It is a source of admiration and non-verbal communication.
Why does holding hands feel so intimate?
Holding hands isn’t the most intimate gesture out there, but it still feels intimate. That’s because of the hormonal interplay taking place in the background. The release of Oxytocin with the consequent reduction of cortisol is what makes holding hands so unique.
References and Citations:
Karen M. Grewen PhD, Bobbi J. Anderson, Susan S. Girdler PhD & Kathleen C. Light PhD (2003) Warm Partner Contact Is Related to Lower Cardiovascular Reactivity, Behavioral Medicine, 29:3, 123-130, DOI: 10.1080/08964280309596065
Koban L, Ramamoorthy A, Konvalinka I. Why do we fall into sync with others? Interpersonal synchronization and the brain’s optimization principle. Soc Neurosci. 2019 Feb;14(1):1-9. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2017.1400463. Epub 2017 Nov 8. PMID: 29091537.