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Jovialis
12-12-17, 19:55
Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive said at a Stanford conference last month that he deeply regrets creating tools that are "eroding the core foundations of how people behave between each other."

Virtual social media has one very anti-social flaw. It can’t relay temperature. This creates a socially disconnected experience because we humans need to feel another person’s presence in multiple ways, including through physical warmth.

Holding a warm hand can buffer a stress response.

The warmth of physical contact can lower heart rate and blood pressure during a stressful experience and physical affection between partners is associated with lower cortisol levels in the setting of work-related stress.

In a recent study, the brain activity of 110 volunteers (around half of whom were female) was monitored as they anticipated small electric shocks to their ankles while holding someone’s hand. They were tested in three conditions: they held the hand of the person they chose to bring along for the study (a friend or partner), they held the hand of a stranger or they did not hold anyone’s hand at all.

Holding the hand of the person they brought along resulted in a significant difference in the brain’s activity pattern. There was less activity in the dACC, the PCC, the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), the right vlPFC and the right dlPFC, regions associated with self-regulation, when compared to not holding anyone’s hand.

The brain's activity pattern when holding the hand of a stranger was comparable to not holding anyone’s hand at all. It seems we confer our loved ones with great power over ourselves, but we don’t easily give strangers this privilege.

If you can’t find a warm hand, hold a cup of coffee instead.

We have a growing problem of loneliness in the United States. Approximately 42.6 million adults over the age of 45 are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness and over a quarter of Americans live by themselves.

Some studies suggest that physical warmth may be an effective substitute if there is no warm hand to hold, at least in some cases. Making a person feel physically warm may sometimes trick them into feeling emotionally warm.

In a study published in 2012, a group of volunteers played an online ball-tossing game which left some study participants feeling socially excluded. Those who felt excluded had colder fingers and also felt sad/stressed at the end of the experiment. Holding a hot cup of tea prevented this. Physical warmth and emotional warmth may, to some extent, be interchangeable. An increase in one compensates for a deficit in the other.

Briefly holding a warm cup of coffee can make people see others as having a “warmer” personality and increases social connection. Opioid signalling is thought to be involved in the mechanistic pathway, since the opioid antagonist naltrexone seems to block this effect.

Heat therapy can help mental well-being.

In 2012, researchers John A. Bargh and Idit Shalev published a study showing that chronic loneliness was associated with an increased tendency to take warm baths, but this result was not supported when the experiment was repeated by another research group.

There is emerging evidence, nonetheless, that physical warmth may improve mental well-being.

A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial found a single session of whole-body hyperthermia reduced depressive symptoms (as measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) for six weeks afterwards.

In another randomized, two-arm, placebo-controlled, pilot trial, taking a hot bath (40 °C) twice a week for four weeks significantly reduced Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores, compared to the placebo group. A smaller study from Japan has shown how Waon therapy, which follows a mild sauna protocol, may benefit chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers.

When someone "warms to you" they actually "warm you".

This connection between physical warmth and social warmth may, in part, have arisen because when someone “warms” to you, they offer to share their warmth “with” you, so your burden to produce heat is lighter. When the Octodon Degus (a Chilean rodent) shares a home with three or more housemates, it needs 40% less energy. For the Chilean rodents, being social means being warm.

Social warmth buffers the bitter cold of the northern hemisphere and makes it easier to bear, so it is no coincidence that we spend the coldest, bleakest months of the year honouring traditions that encourage social gatherings. These can sometimes backfire and according to Facebook data, relationship break-ups peak two weeks before Christmas Day.

If tempers fray around your fireplace this season, keep some chilled eggnog ready. Loneliness and anger have opposite effects on peripheral temperature. While lonely people get cold fingers, cool temperatures may be better for cooling "hot heads".

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-stress-proof-life/201712/exposure-heat-can-improve-mental-well-being

I guess it's easy to trick the brain into feeling better temporarily, but the real thing is much better. Though it could be useful to expose yourself to heat if need be.

I think the opening sentence is particularly interesting:

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive said at a Stanford conference last month that he deeply regrets creating tools that are "eroding the core foundations of how people behave between each other."

Dibran
12-12-17, 20:35
I guess it's easy to trick the brain into feeling better temporarily, but the real thing is much better. Though it could be useful to expose yourself to heat if need be.

I think the opening sentence is particularly interesting:

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive said at a Stanford conference last month that he deeply regrets creating tools that are "eroding the core foundations of how people behave between each other."

Maybe it explains why physically active people have a better sense of well being?

davef
12-12-17, 20:38
I guess that in a way explains why I feel really great after a bowl of hot soup.

A mug of cinnamon spiced chai tea does wonders for my mood as well, especially the smell of cinnamon.