An obscure national holiday comes around every year in June. On June 22 to be exact and the same holiday is celebrated internationally on July 6. Can you guess what it is? It's the celebration of a kiss! While the act is simple, the benefits are huge!
Think back to when you were a child. Can you recall a circumstance when you were hurt? Perhaps your mom or dad “kissed” it better. Maybe they even just hugged you close for a few moments or held the area that was smarting after an injury. Somehow it felt better, right? Certainly, the healing wasn't 100% complete, but that simple act of touch somehow seemed to help so much. In reality, it triggered a chain of chemical reactions in the body.
Human touch and kissing specifically release a group of chemicals into the body known as the “feel good” hormones which include oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin while also lowering cortisol, the stress hormone. The result? You feel pretty content and positive while experiencing overall feelings of happiness. These hormones also promote feelings of connectedness and bonding with the other individual. Cortisol is an interesting chemical that's present in states of high stress. While it does serve a purpose in small doses (it's part of our fight or flight response) our body isn't equipped to deal with it in large doses regularly. So, the idea of lowering those levels with a simple kiss is pretty amazing! Individuals with lower self-esteem were found to have higher levels of cortisol. So, that simple kiss may even boost your self-esteem.
It's interesting to note, that when your body is in a state of contented joy, it's also in a position to heal and recover. This brings us back to the idea that a mom kissing away that boo boo really could have something to it!
On a larger scale, this chain reaction of chemicals reduces anxiety and stress and has a direct impact on your overall physical well-being by dilating your blood vessels. By allowing more oxygenated blood to flow through your body a whole host of maladies are addressed from helping to lower your blood pressure (which means kissing is quite literally good for your heart) as well as relieving cramps, soothing headaches and boosting your overall immune response.
At the end of the day, kissing may not be able to heal all health concerns or the troubles that plague our world today, but it seems like a pretty good place to start!