7 Benefits of Holding Hands That Will Surprise You

Benefits of Holding Hands That Will Surprise You

7 Benefits of Holding Hands That Will Surprise You
7 Benefits of Holding Hands That Will Surprise You

There are countless benefits of holding hands that most people aren’t aware of, but these seven benefits of holding hands are guaranteed to surprise you!

1) Boost Your Happiness

It may sound strange, but holding hands can be a powerful tool for raising your happiness level. When you hold hands with someone you care about, you become more aware of how connected you are to them and to other people in general. This connection fosters feelings of closeness and well-being, which have been shown to improve your mood and help with symptoms related to anxiety and depression. As your awareness increases, so does your happiness! Holding hands also gives both partners a chance to touch each other in loving ways and express love through gentle caresses. In fact, research shows that skin-to-skin contact is one of our most basic needs as humans; we’re meant to feel connected by hugs or high fives or even just holding hands.

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2) Increase Bonding Between Couples

Holding hands is a universal sign that you care. It’s such a common way to show affection that it’s often overlooked—but not by your partner. Touch is one of our most important senses and can play an important role in strengthening bonds between couples. When you hold hands with someone, skin-to-skin contact helps promote intimacy, reduces stress levels, and combats illness through elevated oxytocin levels. As if we needed another reason to hold hands!

3) Feel Safer

Research conducted by a psychologist at Virginia Commonwealth University revealed that people who touch and are touched feel more connected, which leads to lower stress levels. In fact, one study found that babies raised without physical contact grew up to have weaker immune systems and higher cortisol levels—signs of general anxiety. If you’re walking down a dark street or sitting in your car after leaving work late at night, holding your partner’s hand will make you feel less anxious. Even if it doesn’t keep you completely safe from danger, you’ll walk with a little more confidence and be better able to focus on what matters (aside from looking over your shoulder).

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4) Improve Blood Flow

Physical contact is associated with improved blood flow and can reduce stress and anxiety. Studies also show that holding hands with a loved one may even help you live longer! A 2012 study published in Medical Hypotheses found that elderly married couples who regularly hold hands have significantly lower levels of cortisol (i.e., stress hormone), lower pulse rates, and fewer occurrences of tension headaches. Plus, holding hands increases affection toward your partner—which has its own list of benefits.

5) Reduce Anxiety

We all get anxious. Handholding can soothe anxiety. Whether it’s worry about an impending deadline or jitters before a big meeting, handholding has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiousness and stress, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). In their study, published in Anxiety, Stress & Coping, they found that interpersonal touch with romantic partners had significant beneficial effects on cortisol and behavioral measures of emotion regulation and affective state—meaning that handholding can help you be more relaxed in high-stress situations.

Related: 10 Promises All Couples Should Be Able to Make to Each Other

6) Relieve Depression

According to a study in Psychological Science, holding hands while you’re feeling blue can help with depression. This is because physical contact creates a spike in oxytocin, an emotion-regulating hormone that helps lessen depression. Oxytocin increases trust and a positive emotional connection between people said study author Dr. Hedy Kober in Psychology Today.

7) Enhance Intimacy

Love is a great example of just how two people can make each other feel better. The release of oxytocin is one reason why holding hands can make us feel so good. Oxytocin is a hormone that’s thought to increase trust and generosity, encourage positive social behaviors, and calm nerves. In a study at Oxford University, researchers found that holding hands with your partner may increase levels of oxytocin, which could explain why it makes couples feel more connected to each other. It also might help you reduce stress! One study found that hand-holding reduced levels of cortisol in men and women who had been stressed out before they took part in an experiment (perhaps because those taking part realized they had something to hold onto). This suggests that holding hands can have a soothing effect.

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Holding hands can often seem like an almost trivial gesture between loved ones, but this innocent act can actually have some surprising health benefits as well. The next time you and your significant other are walking down the street or sitting in the park, consider this list of 7 benefits of holding hands that will surprise you.

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