From eye contact to hand-holding: 5 micro-affections to show someone you care

Mental Health

It’s the small gestures that can make all the difference and, here, we’re sharing five ways to let the one you love know how you feel

1. Lingering eye contact

It lets someone know that you’re listening, helps you express and read emotions, and studies have gone on to show that eye contact has the ability to boost attraction – even between strangers. It’s also thought that making eye contact when talking about difficult things can make us more honest, and invites the other person to be more open with us, as well. So, next time you’re having a deep and meaningful chat, let your eyes linger that little bit longer.

2. Playing with their hair

Thanks to the delicate sensory neurons located at the base of hair follicles, having your hair gently played with can feel heavenly. And there’s really no technique to it – even just grabbing a hairbrush and gently running it through your partner’s hair will do it. Not only is it relaxing, but being delicately touched in a gentle and loving way leads to the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which only deepens our connection.

3. Showing gratitude

We all like to be acknowledged for the things that we do, and so make sure to let your partner know when they’ve done something – big or small – that you’re grateful for. It could be picking you up a small treat from the supermarket at the end of a long day, remembering to check-in about an important event, or just the day-to-day love and support they offer you. Whatever it might be, take some time to reflect on what that means to you, and let them know how much you value them.

4. Hand holding

In 2009, a study published in the journal PNAS looked at at the effect hand-holding might have on our connections. Measuring the brainwaves of couples while they were sitting together, what they found was that, when the couple held hands while one of them had mild pain administered, their wavelengths appeared to sync up, and the participant experiencing the pain reported feeling it less intensely than when they weren’t holding hands. Those findings speak wonders to the comfort and intimacy that comes with this simple gesture.

5. Recognise their achievements

Life is that much easier when you’ve got a cheerleader in your corner, celebrating your wins and helping you to keep up the momentum with their support and encouragement. So be that person for your partner. That might mean hyping up their achievements at work, taking an interest in their hobbies and skills, or recognising how far they have come on personal journeys with mental health and wellbeing. And you don’t have to get the pom-poms out to do this – often, simple words say it best.



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