Exploring the Transformative Effects of Skin-to-Skin Contact and Positive Emotions

Written by: Masood Saeed
Dated: 10 February 2023


Depression is a pervasive mental health issue affecting millions of individuals worldwide. While traditional treatment methods such as therapy and medication have proven effective, exploring alternative approaches can provide valuable insights. This article examines the potential of two distinct factors—skin-to-skin contact and positive emotions—to alleviate depression and foster a sense of peace. Drawing from recent research, we delve into the short-term and long-term effects of mother-infant skin-to-skin contact [1] and the health benefits of smiling and laughing [2]. Additionally, we explore the influence of these factors on infant-parent interaction, highlighting the potential role of fathers during skin-to-skin contact [3].

1 Skin-to-Skin Contact: A Pathway to Healing

Skin-to-skin contact, often initiated between a mother and her newborn, has been widely recognised as an essential practise for bonding and early development. The benefits extend beyond the initial stages, significantly impacting both mothers and infants. Bigelow and Power [1] found that this contact contributes to improved maternal mood, decreased symptoms of depression, and increased maternal-infant attachment. The tactile stimulation triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with positive emotions and social bonding, fostering a sense of calm and well-being in both parties. By establishing a nurturing connection, skin-to-skin contact can serve as a vital tool in the journey from depression to peace.

2 The Power of Smiling and Laughing

While the effects of positive emotions on mental health have long been acknowledged, recent research sheds light on their specific physiological and psychological benefits. Smiling and laughing, in particular, can have transformative effects on an individual's well-being. Envolve [2] highlights that these simple actions can lower stress levels, boost the immune system, release endorphins, and improve cardiovascular health. The positive feedback loop generated by smiling and laughing helps to counteract negative emotions and increase overall happiness. By incorporating more humour and joy into daily life, individuals struggling with depression can cultivate inner peace and resilience.

3 Gender Dynamics in Infant-Parent Interaction

In exploring the impact of skin-to-skin contact on infant-parent interaction, it is crucial to acknowledge the role of fathers. Traditionally, skin-to-skin contact has been associated primarily with mothers, but recent studies have emphasised the significance of involving fathers in this practise. Velandia, Uvnäs-Moberg, and Nissen [3] discovered that both mothers and fathers engage in distinct ways during skin-to-skin contact, with mothers focusing on soothing and nurturing behaviours and fathers emphasising playful interactions. This finding suggests that fathers can play an active role in fostering positive emotions and bonding with their infants. Involving fathers in skin-to-skin contact can enhance the overall impact on the family unit, promoting a harmonious and peaceful environment.


Depression can be a debilitating condition, but by exploring alternative approaches to healing, individuals can find a pathway to peace. Skin-to-skin contact and the cultivation of positive emotions offer promising avenues for transforming one's mental state. The profound effects of skin-to-skin contact on maternal-infant attachment, combined with the physical and psychological benefits of smiling and laughing, provide a holistic approach to alleviating depression. Furthermore, involving fathers in the practise of skin-to-skin contact can enhance its impact, contributing to a peaceful and nurturing family dynamic. By embracing these practises, individuals can embark on a journey from depression to peace, finding solace in the power of human connection and positive emotions.


[1] Bigelow, A. E., & Power, M. (2020). Mother–infant skin-to-skin contact: Short‐ and long-term effects for mothers and their children born full-term. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01921

[2] Envolve. (2020). Five health benefits of smiling and laughing. Envolvehealth.com. https://www.envolvehealth.com/news/five-health-benefits-of-smiling-and-laughing.html

[3] Velandia, M., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., & Nissen, E. (2012). Sex differences in newborn interaction with mother or father during skin-to-skin contact after Caesarean section: Sex differences in infant-parent interaction. Acta Paediatrica (Oslo, Norway: 1992), 101(4), 360–367. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02523.x

Updated: 10/07/2023