An appreciative pat on the back, an encouraging handshake or a comforting hug, we take these gestures for granted. But did you know that these tiny gestures of affection boost your immunity and help you relax and stay focused?
Why is physical touch important?
Humans, from the moment they are born, need to be cuddled and held close for them to develop physically. As we age, touch still remains an important part of our social and emotional growth.
A research conducted in the US by Dr. Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of understanding the importance of physical touch, shows that whenever someone is hugged before a stressful situation like giving a speech or appearing for an exam, they perform significantly better than those who are not exposed to any kind of physical touch. This is because physical touch releases chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin which are natural relaxants.
The release of oxytocin, also known as the feel-good hormone, inspires trust and optimism. It also generates the feeling of compassion and understanding among each other. This helps us to form better social connections.
Physical touch also significantly increases the levels of dopamine, which is a neuro chemical that controls the mood and regulates stress and anxiety. The release of these chemicals ensures reduced negative thinking and emotions.
Physical touch is also proven to increase blood flow and reduce heart and blood related illnesses. Getting a massage significantly boosts your immunity as well as develops a positive field of energy around your central nervous system. Receiving more hugs and cuddles from your loved ones can give a boost to your immune system.
How can we increase physical touch?
Over the years there has been a significant drop in physical touch across the globe among all age groups. The major reason for this is the excessive use of smartphones even when we are spending time with our loved ones. All of us are so busy staring at our screens that we tend to indulge less in forming mental and physical bond with those around us. So next time, when you are around your family and friends make a rule to keep your devices away and concentrate on connecting with each other.
Another major reason is the taboo associated with being physically close to someone. Showing physical affection has been termed vulgar in many cultures. We need to work towards establishing the difference between the vulgarity and the necessity of physical touch. It is important that these things are taught to children at a very young age, at the schools as well as homes. Let’s not mix up the two.
Today’s children are more touch deprived as they are so busy with the technology that don’t get any at school. It is essential that the parents show them the affection that they need, it all starts at home.
How do you feel when you’re hugged and held by your loved ones?
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