It's right at your fingertips.
When it comes to holding hands, everybody has their preferred technique: interlocking fingers, cupping palms, interlocking with a thumb rub, or the sweat-friendly pinky-link. Some people are top hands, others bottoms and some swing both ways.
No matter your style, or how clammy your palms, we all know how good it feels to fit your hand into your loved one's.
But why is it that when we're upset, stressed, or scared we instinctively reach for our partner's hand? Conversely, why is it that we always seem to reach for our partner's hand to comfort them when they're upset?
A study by University of Virginia psychologist, Dr. James Coan, showed that the answer doesn't lie between our fingers, but in our brains.
The study involved subjecting 16 happily married women to stressful situations while monitoring their brain activity with an f.M.R.I machine. After administering an electric shock to each woman, Coan measured the resulting activity in the stress response area of her brains. He then repeated the shock while the women held a stranger's hand. And then again while holding her husband's hand.
The results showed less activity in the stress-related areas of the women's brains even while holding a stranger's hand, and a whole lot less stress when they held their hubby's hand.
So that's it! Holding hands appears to make us feel less stressed because it actually does make us less stressed!
If happy couples do more hand-holding, and hand-holding reduces stress, and less stress leads to better health, then it can only be assumed that happy marriages lead to better health, right? Well, according to the New York Times, that could very well be the case.
So the next time your loved one is upset — a sad movie, friend drama, work stress, an argument with you—for whatever reason, consider some quality hand-holding time.
Just squeeze a little squeeze into your daily routine: across the table hand-holding while the two of you are eating, while you're in the car, at church, while you're watching TV, or just while you're walking somewhere together. It's good for your relationship and your health.