“And when I touch you I feel happy inside. It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide.”
The Beatles understood that holding someone’s hand was much more than a sign of affection. There is so much to it that they believed it deserved its own song. Holding someone’s hands makes you feel a happiness that cannot always be explained. How holding hands makes us feel something innately inside of us – in the science of our being.
As a child, grasping a parent’s hand made you feel like everything was all right. You feel a sense of comfort and security. You feel untouchable and you are able to walk around without fearing you will get lost. By holding their children’s hands, parents are graced with reassurance because their child is linked to them and are enable to wonder without them. It’s a safety net for both parties.
Then, you grow up and experience the exhilaration of holding the hand of your first crush. A new sensation rushes through your body automatically warming you up as you tingle with excitement. You can hold your loved one’s hand a million times and you’re still flooded with giddy butterflies. You feel as if it is you two against the world.
Even watching someone hold another’s hand creates emotions inside of you.
Such as the joy you feel seeing elderly couples strolling throughout the park with a walker in one hand and their lover in the other.
So why does the touch of another make you feel such a strong rush of happiness, safety, comfort, confidence and excitement?
The answer: Oxytocin. Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone,” is ignited in your brain when you have physical contact with another individual. It’s the same sensation released while cuddling, hugging and even during pregnancy. The hormone encourages bonding, relieves pain and stress, and can even improve your mood and affect. A common phrase used by researchers is “A Cuddle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.”
I got you.
In the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “Oh yeah I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand, when I say that something I wanna hold your hand.” Whatever the science is – it doesn’t matter. Holding hands is an outward declaration of love, with a very deep and inward response of connection. It’s a mutual understanding between two people that science doesn’t need to explain. Because at the end of the day when someone reaches across empty space to grab your hand, it’s them saying, “I got you” – and there’s nothing better than that.