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Study Discovers 7 Surprising Benefits of Holding Hands

Study Discovers 7 Surprising Benefits of Holding Hands

Holding hands is an ordinary thing that we see and do every day. It can signify friendship, love, or marriage. Yet this tiny, commonplace behavior triggers chemical reactions in our minds that make us feel loved, happy, cared for, and respected.

These days, non-verbal communication is important to understanding human behavior. Holding hands is one of the fundamental ways we can positively impact our lives. When we hold hands, the nerves in our skin communicate with our core nervous system, producing hormones that make us feel pleasant and warm. There’s much more to it, of course, and new studies continue to explore the positive psychological effects of human touch today.

Here are seven benefits of holding hands which you may not have realized existed:

1. Holding hands is a great stress reliever

Holding hands with your significant other decreases the level of a stress hormone called cortisol. Even the touch of a friend or a teammate can make us feel more content, connected, or better about ourselves. When we are stressed out, a light touch on our hand can help ease the strain, both physically and mentally. Our skin also gets more sensitive when cortisol is rushing through our bloodstream, so the touch of a helping hand will have a significantly larger impact. The largest concentration of nerve endings is actually contained inside the hands and fingertips.

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So, next time you’re having a really tough day, get together with your partner or a friend and ease the stressful day with them.

holding hands relieves stress

    2. Holding hands boosts love & bonding

    Oxytocin is the hormone behind this benefit. Oxytocin strengthens empathy and communication between partners in a relationship, which is proven to be a contributing factor for long-lasting, happy relationships. Holding hands with your partner will improve your relationship and create a bond that will impact the quality of your relationship significantly.

    Couples who have happy relationships hold hands automatically, sometimes without even noticing, because of a habit developed by their nervous systems. Holding hands produces the oxytocin, which makes us feel happier and more loved.

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    bond and love

      3. Holding hands is great for your heart

      Besides relieving stress, holding hands with your partner lowers your blood pressure, which is one of the major contributors to heart disease. When we’re clasping fingers with our loved ones, we’re not just easing stress and improving our relationships – we are providing a comfortable sensation that helps our heart. The power of a warm touch goes beyond the health benefits to the heart; a study from Behavioral Medicine backs up this claim.

        4. Holding hands relieves pain

        While enduring pain, humans have the natural reflex to tighten their muscles. Think of childbirth – husbands are typically inside the delivery room holding their wife’s hand while she’s going through labor. The reflex to grasp our partner’s hand comes as second nature: It’s always easier to endure pain while holding hands with your soulmate.

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        helping hand

          5. Holding hands fights fear

          Remember that horrible scene in the last horror movie you saw that made you want to jump out of your chair? Luckily, your darling was with you to hold your hand and make you feel safe. The human brain responds to sudden stimulation using adrenaline; this stimulation gets our blood pumping and releases high levels of cortisol throughout our body.

          During these moments, our natural reaction is to hold hands with someone we trust. It varies from person to person, but a large portion of women will instantly grab their partner’s hand. That’s the intuitive way to fight off nerves.

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            6. Holding hands provides a sense of security

            Simple hand holding is a source of safety and comfort for young children. Remember when your parents taught you to how to cross the street or walked you down a crowded sidewalk? Or when you were learning to ride a bicycle? Insecurity disappears when we have a hand to hold and allows us to more easily conquer obstacles. The security that parents provide their children by holding hands shapes their children’s behavior and their way of thinking.

            Additionally, the sensation of safety goes both ways; parents also feel safer when their children are within their grasp.

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              7. Holding hands is just plain comfortable

              Everybody loves comfort. The sensation of holding hands often provides a comfy feeling while talking a walk with your loved one. A great example is holding hands inside a jacket pocket to warm them up on those cold December nights when you decide to take a stroll in the snow with your partner. Even with gloves, we love to hold hands. It bonds us; it provides lovely sensations and gives us quality time with people we care about.

                How often do you hold hands with your partner?

                Holding hands is a pain reliever, a source of security, and a cure for stress. Do you enjoy the comforting sensation of holding hands? Now you have seven reasons to do it more often.

                Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ccbarr/ via flickr.com

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                Dejan Kvrgic

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                Last Updated on November 19, 2020

                The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

                The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

                It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

                Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

                What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

                However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

                1. Value Your Time

                Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

                Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

                2. Know Your Priorities

                Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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                For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

                However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

                You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

                3. Practice Saying No

                Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

                Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

                4. Don’t Apologize

                A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

                When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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                5. Stop Being Nice

                Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

                Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

                6. Say No to Your Boss

                Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

                In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

                7. Pre-Empting

                It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

                “Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

                This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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                8. Get Back to You

                Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

                “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

                At least you gave it some consideration.

                9. Maybe Later

                If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

                “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

                Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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                Saying no the healthy way

                  10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

                  This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

                  Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

                  The Bottom Line

                  Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

                  Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

                  More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

                  Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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