When Cupid’s arrow reaches Valentine’s Day, many people intend to celebrate by kissing, embracing, and holding hands. While passionate love displays can undoubtedly make your heart race, did you realize that human touch may also help you stay healthier?
People who received hugs were better equipped to deal with conflict and stress afterward, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
According to a separate study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, holding someone’s hand seemed to have a pain-relieving impact, presumably easing physical agony through shared empathy.
Our bodies also release oxytocin during physical contact, a brain hormone known as the “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin aids in the development of empathy and trust and the management of stress and anxiety, both of which can be detrimental to one’s health.
In the end, the health benefits of touch may be worth snuggling up for. According to research, maintaining a regular flow of interpersonal communication can help you:
- Lower cortisol secretion: Physical affection may reduce cortisol release. This stress-induced hormone might aid you in a fight-or-flight situation by raising your blood pressure and increasing your energy supply.
- Lower stress, which is a possible advantage of interpersonal touch, may assist in keeping blood pressure in check.
- Keep your cool: According to the Carnegie Mellon study, receiving a hug can go a long way toward making us feel less anxious. Over two weeks, participants who received frequent hugs reported being better able to deal with interpersonal conflict and stress.
- In a Swedish study, caregivers who used “haptic” soothing techniques, including embracing, stroking, and patting to quiet weeping toddlers, were able to elicit trust more quickly and soothe children to quit sobbing.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until February 14th to reap the benefits of human contact. Getting a professional massage regularly may also be an excellent method to get a constant dosage of hands-on stress relief. Or bribe your partner with some silky smooth milk chocolate and see what happens.