Express love Bollywood style: Here’s why holding hands may be good for you too

Published on: 9 April 2022, 10:30 am IST

If holding hands with a loved one makes you feel stress-free, comforted and happy, you know why we're asking you to do it more often!

Hrithik Roshan and Saba Azad spotted hand in hand
It's all about walking hand-in-hand! Image courtesy: Instagram

In the midst of all that conspires in times of modern love, there are some things about romance that remain magical. Things as simple, but strong as holding hands! No matter how complicated the equations seem to the outside world, when actor Hrithik Roshan recently walked out of the airport hand-in-hand with Saba Azad, as did his former wife Sussanne Khan with Arslan Goni, their actions spoke louder than words. Fans claim it was a declaration, in their own silent way – in a way that only holding hands speaks about relationships.

There’s something pure and innocent about it, isn’t it?

Haven’t you been ‘awwwing’ at the way Vicky Kaushal never lets go of his newly-wed wife Katrina Kaif’s hand? Or love birds Karan Kundra and Tejasswi Prakash?

If you’re smiling, you may agree that holding hands is not just a ‘celebrity thing’! To speak for myself, after half a dozen years of being married, I can still vouch for the comfort, security, warmth, tingle and love that this gesture makes you feel.

What does holding hands mean for your relationships?

“Intimacy, touch and togetherness play a significant role in the attachment that a couple has,” explains eminent psychiatrist Dr Samir Parikh.

“It could be anything – reading a book together, listening to music together, taking a stroll in the park holding hands, or even walking together while having a conversation… All of these are expressions of togetherness and connected-ness. And all these help to strengthen a relationship. If you ask me whether hand-holding is nice for a bond, I would say ‘Yes’,” affirms the expert.

Katrina Vicky
Just days after their wedding, Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal had shared this romantic capture, with their hands intertwined. Image courtesy: Instagram | Katrina Kaif

The beauty also lies in the fact that it’s such an instinctive gesture. Think of a newborn trying to grasp a parent’s finger, a sibling holding on to you for security, a woman in labour pain trying to squeeze on a comforting hand, an older person holding on for support, or a partner showing affection and warmth.

Holding hands may mean different things to different people. To some, it may even be a sign of being over-protective (think Aishwarya Rai Bachcan and her daughter Aaradhya), and to some, of being submissive. Having said that, it is universal in its expression of a strong connection.

That also gives it a deeper meaning, rather than just being seen as something ‘cute’.

US-based street photographer Diane M Conn’s picture book “Holding Hands” encapsulates people of all age groups, walks of life, and from across the world. The common thread is the act of holding hands with the person next to them.

On what triggered the idea to compile these touching photographs, Conn has shared an emotional explanation on her website, “Touch is the first sense we develop in the womb, and we are born reaching for someone to hold on to. We hold hands for care, for safety, for comfort, and most of all to connect. When we are holding someone’s hand, the stress in our bodies reduces immediately. We feel less alone. We don’t even have to speak—our hands do it for us.”

Check out this picture by the photographer!

The missing touch in Covid-19 times

The Covid-19 times have been a rude reminder to us about the importance of touch. As leaders and health experts across the world rallied for physical distancing and hand sanitization, touch-related gestures such as hand-holding and even hugs began to take a backseat.

Nevertheless, I am reminded of a beautiful story of two nurses in Sao Paulo, Brazil, who used latex medical gloves and warm water to create what they called
“little hands of love”. This was done to comfort the patients who fought the dreaded coronavirus in isolation, stuck in intensive care units, and away from their loved ones. Even though it was made to mimic a human touch, the benefits
were multiple.

Benefits of holding hands

Over the past several years, researchers across the world have looked into the multiple benefits of touch or touch therapy. And since holding hands is one of the most common touches, let’s take a look at what it can do for you!

1. Releases happy hormones

The Beatles said it in their 1964 song “I want to hold your hand”. Its lyrics went like;
“And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide!”

And even science says holding hands releases oxytocin or what is colloquially called the happy hormone. According to psychology professor James Coan, who conducted a ‘Why we hold hands’ lab at the University of Virginia, there can be multiple reasons why people hold hands. But a key reason is “feeling a sense of security”, and that’s why it feels comforting.

2. Relieves pain

“Don’t underestimate the power of a hand-hold,” Pavel Goldstein, a University of Colorado Boulder pain researcher, said in his study about the effect that a romantic partner can have on holding hands with a partner in pain. According to his 2018 study, the supportive touch can make your breathing, heart rate and brain wave patterns synchronize.

holding hands benefits
Holding hands brings seamless comfort.

3. Reduces stress and promotes brain health

The brain can always work overtime when it comes to being vigilant about potential threats. But holding hands with a trusted person can reduce that. Professor Hames Coan, in a University of Virginia Q&A, explains, “Hand-holding frees up neural ‘bandwidth’, allowing the brain to focus on things other than potential dangers.”

In that sense, it can take your stress and even fear away! Coan further explains that holding hands can reduce activity in a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. It is responsible for regulating part of the body’s stress response.

So, if you feel like it, go all out and hold hands!

Radhika Bhirani Radhika Bhirani

Content Head for Healthshots.

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