How Exposure to heat can improve mental well being

According to Mithu Storoni MD, Ph.D, being exposed to warm temperatures through physical touch is what humans need to decrease stress. She says that blood pressure and cortisol levels (both of which, rise with stressful situations), can be lowered with physical human contact like holding your warm partners hand.

She goes on to say that being warmer physically, is almost interchangeable with being warmer emotionally. But how does one benefit from warm human touch, if we are alone? Studies have shown that holding something warm, like a cup of coffee, or a heated blanket, can have similar affects to holding a warm hand.

In this day in age, when social media can often take place of actual human contact, depression and loneliness is growing. Every single thing we could ever imagine we needed, can be ordered online and delivered to our doorstep. Our exposure to people, and therefore the likelihood of developing relationships, has decreased with the ease of technical capabilities. 

We suggest trying to break your computer/smart phone/tablet time, with time spent doing things away from those devices. Start by taking an hour out of your day to be away from the computer, step outside into the sun, go for a walk. Make yourself a hot cup of tea or coffee to feel the soothing effects of warm temperatures, and breaking from your computer routine for a moment. On the weekends, curl up with a warm blanket and meditate or read a good book.

What are your ways to decrease stress? Do you believe that heat can have a positive effect on our stress levels?