Ladies, are you feeling stressed or anxious about something. If so hold you’ll be pleased to learn that a study now proves that holding your husbands hand will help relieve your stress and anxiety. For those ladies among you who aren’t married… well, you’re stuffed!

Okay, so maybe the unmarried ladies aren’t completely stuffed, but in a recent study led by neuroscientist Dr. James Coan from the University of Virginia it has been concluded that happily married women show signs of immediate relief from stress and anxiety when they hold their husband’s hand.

“We’ve known for decade that being in a good, committed relationship makes wounds heal faster, makes you sick less often and even live longer. But the main point of this study is that no one had been able to quantify the mental benefits of a close relationship in terms of improved health.” Said Dr Coan.

The limited study involved 16 couples from the Madison, Wisc area who were in marriages judged to be ‘strong.’ Coan and colleagues wired the women up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scanner then proceeded to electrocute them in the name of science and human progress.

The women were shown a red X indicating a 20% chance that they would receive a mild electric shock or a blue O, indicating that they would not be shocked. During the test they held their husband’s hand, the hand of an anonymous male, or no hand. The scanner then recorded each woman’s responses under the various conditions.

“Holding any hand at all calms regions of the brain that are responsible for the body’s physical stress response,” reported Coan. “But only the spousal hand affected regions of the brain that are responsible for worrying… This is the region which is thought to be associated with your experience of pain.”

Quite why anyone would bother doing a study like this is anyone’s guess. It seems entirely logical to me that people would feel less stressed when they have the reassurance of the touch from someone they love. But in our society which seems to be moving us away from actual human interaction at an alarming rate maybe such a study was warranted.

“Interaction between members of a species can have a momentous impact on emotion, and emotion can have a profound impact on bodily functioning,” Said a psychoanalyst at New York University Medical Center and a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, Dr. Charles Goodstein.

Back in February another scientific study revealed that people suffering from stress should have more sex. That study revealed that people who weren’t ‘getting it’ were more up tight than those who enjoyed a good roll in the hay, so to speak.

The effect on the men doing the hand-holding was not studied, but there are plans to extend the study next year to include the partners as well as less happy couples, and gay and lesbian couples too. In short Coan would like to electrocute people from all kinds of relationships.

You can read about the study entitled “Lending a Hand: Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat” in the December 2006 issue of the Journal Psychological Science.

Lending a Hand: Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat
Stressed? Try holding your husbands hand
Hold hubby’s hand to de-stress
Happy Marriage Calms Nerves
Spouses Have A Hand in Quelling Anxiety
Stay calm people