Ever wondered why we hold hands? Clasping someone’s hand may seem like a simple gesture but is loaded with meaning. This non-verbal way of communication conveys fondness, protection, trust, and connection. It’s a universal gesture for expressing affection. Human beings are hardwired for holding hands of others. This natural instinct is displayed by an infant’s grasping of her mother’s fingers which is also called ‘grasp flex’.
Humans share this instinctual response with several other animals such as sea otters, penguins, monkeys, raccoons and many more. In fact, sea otters are marvelled at for holding hands of their partners so that they don’t drift away in deep slumber. In that way, hand holding not only helps animals in expressing love but also as a mechanism to avoid life-threatening situations.
Holding hands which are also called kissing of the palms has scientific benefits to it as well. Holding hands of someone you trust aids in the reduction of stress hormone also called cortisol which is deleterious for your immune system and instead increases the love hormone called oxytocin which arouses feelings of compassion, trust, and generosity.
Many psychologists recognize holding hands as an emotional need that helps in the development of a human being. Lack of regular healthy touch can evoke the negative feelings of loneliness and neglect whereas healthy touch can boost the mental health of an individual and reinforce encouragement and support. Several studies also show how healthy touch can increase the life span of individuals. Skin to skin touch is also a bodily requirement as it’s the easiest way of absorbing and releasing heat.