Affection is a physical expression of feelings. It is usually associated with love and long-term relationships, because a steady stream of affection can make people closer. Studies have shown that children who receive high levels of caressing affection as children had lower levels of stress.Other studies have shown that relationships that have higher rates of physical affection report more relationship satisfaction
Method 1 of 3: Increasing Affection with Touch
1 Recognize your discomfort with caressing, hugging, holding hands, or cuddling. Many people are uncomfortable with touch because of personality or family history. Talk to someone about it, write about it, or set a reminder until you form a habit of physical affection.
- Talk to your partner about it. Improving communication may lead to a closer and more affectionate relationship.
2 Schedule cuddle time with kids or spouses. Not being affectionate may be a time issue, so put it on your schedule. Date night, story time, and even TV watching time can be combined with cuddling.
3 Hold hands. Whether it is with your partner or your kids, holding hands is easy and cements your bond. Perhaps it is the easiest way to immediately increase your physical affection for another person.
4 Include physical touch in a list of health goals. Having contact with your kids and partner can release oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, which lowers blood pressure. It can also help you control the stress hormone cortisol
5 List healthy ways that you can be physically affectionate—in your mind or on paper. Make a goal to do them all at various points throughout the week.
- Although some articles report that it takes 21 days to form a habit, it depends upon the person. Continue referencing this list for several months to permanently change how affectionate you are.
6 Try massaging. A back or neck massage is a great way to give physical affection. Your partner may enjoy it and return the favor.
Method 2 of 3: Increasing Verbal Affection
1 Don’t let text or email replace verbal affection. Pick up the phone to check in, because it’s more personal, even if it takes more time. If you must use these modes of communication, sign off with a phrase like “Thinking of you” or “Miss you” instead of a something generic
2 Understand that long-distance relationships require more verbal affection. If possible, use Skype or Google Hangout so you can make eye contact and pick up on physical cues while talking.
3 Compliment someone every day. Compliments to children and spouses make them feel more fulfilled.
4 Greet your partner or children when they get home from work. Stop what you are doing and interact so they know you care.
5 Nickname your partner or children. A positive nickname shows that you have a special bond.
6 Take the time to say “thank you.” Think of all the things the other person does for you or the ways they improve your life. Look them in the eyes and express your appreciation in a few sentences.
7 Don’t assume that “I love you” is the only way to express affection. If you are not saying it, you should try to make it a regular part of your vocabulary. Phrases like “You’re great”, and “I’m so lucky to have you”, are also good ways to show affection.
Method 3 of 3: Developing Habits to Increase Affection
1 Return others’ affection automatically. Answer cues by returning hugs, complimenting, saying “I Love You,” kissing someone on the cheek, or high fiving. Ignoring the urge to hesitate during these moments is important.
2 Don’t let only one parent be the “affectionate parent” and the other be the “serious parent.” In decades past, it was not as culturally important for dads to be affectionate to kids; however, times have changed. Affection levels are based on habit as well as personality.
3 Make eye contact while you are cuddling, holding hands, or giving a compliment. Studies have shown that staring into the eyes of someone you love (even a pet) can increase oxytocin hormone levels.
4 Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional counselor or therapist if you have no desire to show affection. Relationships take work; don’t associate couple’s counseling with weakness. If you feel affection but cannot express it, a one-on-one session might be better.
5 Give yourself macro goals and micro quotas. Motivational strategists believe that good habits can be established by dreaming big about the way you would like things to be, such as being a more affectionate parent. Then, give yourself micro quotas, such as “I am going to spend 20 minutes conversing directly with my children every day