60-Second Mind

Hot Baths May Cure Loneliness

Recent research finds that taking a hot bath can cure loneliness. Christie Nicholson reports

Take a hot bath, you’ll fee better. Not only does warm water soothe us, it can combat loneliness. According to research published in the journal Emotion.

Scientists analyzed the bathing habits of 51 people. And had them record how they felt before and after bathing. The researchers found that higher scores on a measure of chronic loneliness were associated with an increase in warmer baths or showers. In a separate study, to test the link between physical temperature and emotional state, scientists had subjects hold cold and hot packs and recorded levels of perceived loneliness. They confirmed the correlation between cold packs and high loneliness scores.

Then in another study the researchers had subjects recall a time when they were feeling excluded. This exercise made the subjects subsequently desire comforting social activities like hanging with friends. But this desire was reduced for those subjects who were asked to hold a warm pack.

The authors claim this association between warmth and security is innate, yet many are not aware of the link, at least when it comes to warm baths. In another study they found that subjects do not think of a frequent bather as a particularly lonely person. A little obsessive maybe, but not lonely.

—Christie Nicholson

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