Science has spoken — and apparently, long distance relationships are actually amazing. And yet, even as humans find tons of ways to soften the blow of distance in an LDR, psychology professor Jennifer J. Harman, PhD, tells us that there’s still no substitute for human touch. We all love a good Netflix party and snuggle night in, but there are actually psychological reasons why gettin’ cozy is good for our psyche.
1. Communication. Since so much of communication is nonverbal, touching in any form contributes to what signals we receive from our partner. For example, just the way that someone holds your hand — firmly, softly or in-between — says a lot about how they’re feeling without ever having to say it.
2. Healing and Comfort in Times of Stress. “Touch is really important,” Dr. Harman says. “It releases healthy hormones.” It’s no surprise that a hug can help us when we’re feeling down.
3. Bonding. While long-distance relationships can be successful, Dr. Harman stresses that being physically near someone is important to any healthy relationship. “The absence of touch is really hard on relationships,” she says. “It makes it really hard to maintain a relationship without it.”
4. Compatibility. Being compatible with significant others physically actually starts when we’re born. Dr. Harman says that studies show that the way our parents handle us as babies sets us up for our expectations about touch as adults.
How have your relationships benefited from touch? Let us know @BritandCo!
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