According to the Dalai Lama,
“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”
From the moment we’re born we need human interaction and affection so that we can live healthy and fulfilling lives. Of course, while the amount of affection needed will vary from person to person, there are very few people who can survive and flourish without having someone there with them to share their lives and love.
Far from being a luxury, affection is necessary for us on all kinds of levels. Expressions of love and intimacy, such as hugging, kissing, holding hands and saying “I love you” need to be given and received on a regular basis. They’ve been shown to improve our relationships, our mental well-being and our physical health; all of which prove of great consequence as we get older.
If you’re lacking affection, here’s 5 reasons why you need more human affection as you get older, and why we should endeavour to inject more affection into our personal relationships, and into our life in general.
Lowers blood pressure
It’s been suggested that romantic hugs can help to lower blood pressure in women. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether this benefit extends to men, but it certainly can’t do any harm to have a good cuddle every day.
Helps to release our feel-good hormones
All kinds of physical affection have been shown to release feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin. Oxytocin helps to reduce pain and gives us a feeling of calmness. No wonder we feel good after a good kiss and cuddle with our partner, our grandchildren or our loved ones.
When we’re under stress, the body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to increased blood pressure and put us more at risk of stroke. However, by increasing the amount of daily physical affection, we can lower the amount of cortisol in our bodies, thus reducing our risk of developing these problems.
Increases our overall satisfaction with our intimate relationships
By finding more opportunities to show our affection for our loved ones in a physical way, we naturally increase our overall satisfaction with the relationship. Of course, this is only the case if the affection is reciprocated. Try incorporating more hand holding, back rubs, massage, kissing and stroking and enjoy a new feeling of intimacy between you.
And finally, it puts you in a much better mood
Showing affection to a loved one raises your mood, particularly for women, and makes things in general just seem brighter.
When you consider that a study by Brigham University has claimed that loneliness is on par with obesity as a risk factor in early death, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you take the opportunity to add more affection into your life, whether that’s with a partner, your family or even with a pet. As affection deprivation is linked to a range of issues, including chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression, it makes a lot of sense to make the most of every chance you get to grab a little affection for yourself, and show some affection to those people you care about.