AFFECTION AND ITS AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS!
Affection and its amazing health benefits, is going to look at three things.
- An affectionate relationship is …
- The benefits of having affection in our lives are …
- What are the results of not having affectionate relationships?
LET’S DEFINE AN AFFECTIONATE RELATIONSHIP
Many relationships can be affectionate. Whether your relationship is with a friend, family member or partner, it can be affectionate. Being affectionate in a relationship lets the other person know you care. Giving affection feels as good as receiving affection. Affection can be verbal or physical. Telling someone you love them, is a sign of affection. Holding hands and hugging are signs of affection. Affection defines a fondness with the person who you share the relationship with.
I grew up in a family of huggers. Hugs build trust, strengthen both your immune system and your self-esteem and they increase oxytocin (which we will talk about in detail in a bit). Medicine.net has a fantastic post called How Hugs Make You Feel, that is a detailed look at hugs specifically! The longer the hug, the more beneficial it is. Hugs have been in short supply during the COVID pandemic, and this is leading to increased stress and mental health issues all over the world. Simply not being able to shake hands, is also having a negative effect.
AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS
Affection improves both physical and mental health. Amazingly, affection can result in lowered blood pressure, fewer colds, less visits to the doctor and less substance abuse. Studies have shown that people involved in close social bonds, such as marriage (common-law too), tend to visit the doctor less. Both affection and better self-care are believed to be responsible for this.
Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction and stress management, are improved with affection. Mahatma Ghandi once wrote, “Where there is love there is life.” The warm feeling you get when you know you are loved, is more than just a feeling. It is an actual increase in your levels of oxytocin, an important hormone that reduces pain and has a calming effect. Oxytocin relieves stress, improves heart health, lowers blood pressure and can increase libido. In a sexual relationship, affection will raise the libido of your partner and increase the benefits of your sexual experience. This is why oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone.”
Oxytocin is specifically responsible for feelings of empathy, trust, fond memories, emotional responses, positive communication, bonding and yes, plays a hug role in our sexual response. Kissing causes a burst of oxytocin. This can be a peck on the cheek or the kind of kissing one would engage in with their partner.
It is important to note that affection in relationships also produces the feeling of being supported. This supportive feeling, helps both mental and physical health.
WHEN AFFECTION IS LACKING
- Sleep difficulties
- Lack of feeling of security, satisfaction in the relationship.
TOUCH STARVATION is something that has been studied! It has been found that those who lack touch in their lives (and this does not only mean romantic touch) have all five of the above mentioned issues. According to Healthline “Failing to experience frequent positive touch as a child may affect the development of the oxytocin system and the child’s intimacy and social skills — although this isn’t true for everyone.” Culture and upbringing have a lot to do with your touch-ability. A study in 2015 of FIVE countries found Finland and France to be among the most affectionate and the United Kingdom to be among the least.
In my Proactive Health Tip List You Need – 100 Proactive Health Tips post, I include things like realizing how precious your time with your children is and teaching your kids affection. This is because both are important to their and YOUR physical and mental well being.
There is little doubt that affection has amazing health benefits. We need to be aware of personal boundaries, personal preferences and societal norms of course, but engaging in affection with your friends, family and partner, will most definitely improve your quality of life. Affection is ONE of the EASIEST preventative health measures there is! Oxytocin is also released, along with endorphins, when we exercise.