Hold my hand

I love reading research studies - it stems back to my days as a research scientist.  I think you'll like reading my review of this one I found last week.  It is a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin demonstrating the power of holding hands.

Holding Hands


The study looked at the effect of holding hands on pain and fear.  Women we given mild electric shocks to induce pain and also cues beforehand to elicit fear and anxiety. Functional MRI measurements were taken of the brain activity to look for changes in pain levels and emotions.

When the women were alone and receiving shocks, they felt fear and pain and the areas of their brains responsible for emotion were particularly active.

When a male member of the research team, whom they didn't know, held their hand during the shock, the women felt less fear.


When the women held their spouses' hands during the shocks, their brain activity calmed markedly at every level.  The act of holding the hand of someone you love reduced pain, and fear and anxiety.  This effect was also directly proportional to the love they felt for their partner - i.e. the marital quality.

So remember this when you are with someone who is anxious, fearful or in pain. Reach out and hold their hand.  Whether they are your partner, friend, a child or a stranger.  That simple act of hand holding can have a powerful effect on them.  And even if they aren't in pain or fearful, still hold their hand!


If you'd like to read the study, here is the link: Lending a hand

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