The effect of this simple gesture of social support is that the brain and body don’t have to work as hard, they’re less stressed in response to a threat. – Dr. James A. Coan
This beautiful quote from Dr. James A Coan recommends hand holding as a way to reduce stress. We hold our children’s hands naturally when we’re crossing the street, through the airport terminals, and as we navigate through a crowded theme park. It not only keeps us connected, but it keeps our stress levels down. What a wonderful thing!
Hand holding is big in our house. With a child that has always had extreme anxiety issues, the hand holding gives him security and in OT verbiage “the proprioception his body is craving.” I can remember holding my son’s hand everyday while we waited for the first bell of the morning to ring before school. I’d give him a few extra squeezes and send him on his way (far more regulated than he’d have been without the support).
According to Ashley Montagu, author of Touch: The Human Significance of Skin, our babies learn to regulate by being held by their mothers. Our breathing, heart beat, internal systems, all teach our babies bodies how to do the same. Hand holding is an extension of that.
Extreme Anxiety or Stressed Out Child? Maybe these experts can help.
Stress Free Kids
Stress Free Kids by Lori Lite is an excellent resource to help your child reduce stress, anxiety and anger. Visit her website for books, cds, and her blog. The books are on subjects including visualization, self esteem, believing in yourself, relaxing and reducing anxiety.
Imagery For Kids
Dr. Charlotte Reznick’s Imagery for Kids is another resource that we have used. “Dr. Reznick offers a revolutionary approach for parents to help their children handle fears, worries, and self- doubt. Her simple, accessible advice allows kids to develop their self- esteem while creatively tackling problems. This book is a must- read for any parent who hopes to arm their child with the tools to handle life’s daily struggles.” — Jack Canfield, coauthor of The Success Principles™ and coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series.
Her book and cd series focus on anxiety reduction and learning coping skills.
Holding hands works for couples as well. According to Your Tango, holding hands is “Ridiculously Good for You.” So the next time your loved one is upset—a sad movie, friend drama, work stress, an argument with you—for whatever reason, consider some quality hand-holding time.
Here are some additional articles that focus on the benefits of hand holding.
As the Beatles so eloquently put it, “I want to hold your hand.” So, go and hold someone’s hand today. It’s good for both of you.