Is Holding Hands the New Secret of How to Reduce and Relieve Pain?

7 minute read

It may seem like common sense that the act of holding a loved one’s hand could be beneficial to your health. After all, it’s proven that family and friends can have a positive effect on your mood, your stress levels, and can keep you in better health.

But you may not know the true extent to which physical contact with a loved one can help you, especially on a scientific level.

A new study has discovered that when romantically linked couples hold hands, their pain levels are diminished and their brainwaves “sync” up. Some of the benefits of this phenomenon could be a huge boon to your health and productivity overall, so it’s important to understand just how holding a loved one’s hand can help your body and mind.

Reduced Stress

Studies show that having loved ones nearby can help reduce stress, which is essential when it comes to completing even everyday tasks.

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You might not realize that stress can really sabotage your efforts to perform your regular duties, and having a loved one in close contact can make sure that your stress levels are properly managed.

When you stress, your body releases an excess amount of the hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is a powerful hormone that can hinder your body’s efforts to perform a wide variety of functions.

It can lower your energy levels, affect your mood, and it has even been linked to joint and muscle discomfort. Having a loved one you can make contact with will help in this regard, so you don’t negatively impact your health when stressful life events occur.

Less Anxiety

Anxiety can wreak havoc on your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and having a loved one present has been shown to reduce signs of anxiety. People who suffer from anxiety repeatedly report having to put more effort into tasks that would normally be fairly easy to complete.

When you’re trying to get through a difficult time, anxiety can derail your efforts even further. Rather than suffer from anxiety on your own, having a loved one to lean on can help you get back to your regular lifestyle and routine.

Better Mood

Being near a loved one has been linked to a better mood as well. Your mood is often overlooked in terms of your overall health, as it can be difficult to measure with traditional numbers or scientific techniques.

However, individuals often report a better mood when a loved one is nearby, especially when you are undergoing a traumatic event or a negative situation that could otherwise drag your health down along with your mood. Keeping a loved one close can help you in times where your mood isn’t so great.

Nobody is going to have a good mood all of the time, but keeping contact with loved ones can help keep your mood at a normal range, and can help pick up your spirits when you’re feeling low.

Improved Cognitive Function

When you aren’t suffering from stress or anxiety and you have a support network or a loved one to help you get through difficult times, it allows your mind to focus on other areas, which can boost your attention span and overall cognitive function.

Studies have shown that people who do not have as much physical contact with their loved ones can sometimes suffer from cognition-related issues and may not perform tasks as well as those who have a strong relationship with close friends or family.

That’s not to say you need a large group of friends or that you need to be close with every member of your family, but having someone you can be in contact with can help you focus on what you need to get done in your professional and personal life.

Better Sleep

Holding a loved one’s hand can actually help you sleep better as well. It can help you get more restful REM sleep, which is the productive type of sleep during which your body can make self repairs on the cellular level.

If you aren't getting enough REM sleep, it means your body doesn’t have the chance to make these repairs and fix the damage that your cells undergo throughout the day. This means that you could wake up feeling less refreshed and your energy levels the next day might take a hit.

Less Pain

In times of pain or other suffering, having a loved one nearby can make a big difference. In fact, some research has shown that holding a loved one’s hand can actually reduce physical pain.

This is especially important for people suffering from painful ailments, as it can help make the recovery process easier. Pain is not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes it can be a signal that the body is repairing itself.

But regardless of the source, it is an unpleasant experience that can be eased by the presence of a loved one.

The Bottom Line

It’s true that having a loved one by your side can help you feel better, and now you know that it isn’t just an abstract concept. There is real scientific evidence that shows holding a loved one’s hand or having a good network of friends and family you can turn to in times of physical pain or emotional stress can have a huge impact on your health.

Direct messages and texts can help, but nothing feels quite like actually, physically holding on to the ones you love.

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