Bad news, folks: the concept of love languages is a myth. That's right, the idea that you might be more physical, or need more quality time, has no basis in science.
However, one thing is certain: humans need all types of affection. Showing affection is a key component of any relationship, whether or not the idea of love languages has any basis. Mental health in a relationship will suffer unless partners get their needs taken care of.
Showing affection on a daily basis, in fact, is essential. And we aren't saying that just because. Keep reading as we discuss the nine benefits of showing affection on a daily basis.
1. Showing Affection Reduces Stress Levels
Have you ever wondered why physical contact, such as a hug, feels so good? That's because your body is releasing oxytocin whenever you cuddle, hug, or hold hands. There is a literal, physical benefit to that type of intimacy.
Naturally, this does a lot for your physiological well-being. First and foremost, it reduces your stress levels. Oxytocin is the same neurotransmitter that mothers experience while giving birth, or that couples feel during their first kiss.
So if you ever are feeling overwhelmed from work or anything else, then give your partner some love, kiss, hug, or even hold their hand. It will make a world of difference.
2. It Builds Trust and Confidence in Your Relationship
Think about how vulnerable physical intimacy makes you. It exposes the parts of you to another person that could result in your undoing. To be intimate is to be vulnerable by definition.
It only follows then that the more affection you show, the more trust there will be. It requires no talking, no arguing. The simple fact that you are together in this physical manner drastically improves the quality of the relationship.
3. Improved Immune Response
We are not quite done with oxytocin yet. This chemical does a lot more than just make you feel good when you hug somebody. They can also provide benefits to your physical health, specifically your immune system.
Oxytocin can reduce stress by lowering your overall cortisol. The reduction in cortisol means that your immune system can function more effectively. Your body will produce more antibodies, reducing the damage from foreign bacteria.
Naturally, a stronger immune system means you feel better and have better overall health. So get those hugs in, because there's no such thing as too much oxytocin.
4. It Gives You a Needed Boost for Your Self-Esteem
Think about the sort of message that a hug is sending. It's not just someone showing that they care for you. It is also showing that you matter as a person, to them, and to others.
So when you get more hugs, your self-esteem will improve commensurately. Over time, frequent physical affection may help you to maintain healthy and stable self-esteem levels.
This will likely improve your overall social lifestyle, too. The more you feel that you matter, the more you are likely to go out and meet people.
5. It Helps to Cope with Depression
Depression functions in a somewhat similar way to stress. It creates cortisol in the body, which increases your heart rate and decreases your overall mood. Oxytocin serves to reduce cortisol, so it only follows that it helps to reduce depression as well.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from depression, a hug or a kiss from their partner may help to ease this. Granted, it won't be a cure, and that person will still have depression. But it may allow them to better cope with those feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
6. It Helps to Deal with Grief
Grief, like depression, produces cortisol and that same overall sense of helplessness. To be clear, grief is not the same as depression, but it is very similar in many ways. So, as you may have guessed, physical affection can help to alleviate the symptoms of grief as well.
7. It May Improve Your Sleep Quality
Oxytocin has another trick up its sleeve. In addition to reducing cortisol levels, it promotes the development of melatonin. Melatonin occurs naturally in your brain and allows you to fall asleep at night.
If you are having difficulty getting in a full eight hours, affection may help. Especially when you are tossing and turning in bed. Cuddling a little bit can give a boost to your melatonin production, helping you to doze off much easier.
8. Your Heart Will Be Happy, Too
Studies have proven that affection has a correlation with a reduction in bad cholesterol as well as cortisol. In the studies, participants had better overall heart health when they were receiving regular affection. So if you want to make sure your heart is happy and healthy, consider giving more hugs to your partner.
Naturally, you want to do this as much as possible over time. The effects are cumulative, so consistency is key.
9. It Works Where Words Do Not
A hug is something that anyone can understand, even someone who does not share a language with you. It conveys a sense of concern and a desire to comfort.
It requires no words to do this. You could hug someone on the other side of the world and they would get the message.
Obviously, a hug is not a replacement for couples therapy or hard conversations. But it is an excellent way to convey what really matters: that you care about your partner, and that you want the best for them. In difficult moments, it's an excellent tool for telling your partner this simple and important message.
Go out and Give Your Partner a Hug Today
Showing affection does more than just make you feel warm and cuddly inside. There are proven scientific benefits, such as the production of oxytocin and reduction in cortisol and bad cholesterol. People who show affection on a regular basis are happier, healthier, and better able to deal with the difficulties of life.
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