The power of touch during social distancing
Yes, we have to keep social distancing when we go out. It’s essential to follow recommendations when we are at the grocery store, walking the dog, and outside in public spaces.
But what about at home?
Today, I want to share some research about the importance of physical affection for reducing stress and improving well-being.
Social distancing is challenging for humans because we are social creatures. We like connection and validation from others. In our current situation, there is a strong emphasis on avoiding physical contact to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This situation can make us feel uncomfortable about the human touch.
In challenging times it is essential to create social connection, and even though we are supposed to stay away from physical contact, that does not need to apply to the people we live with at home.
There is an exception if you suspect the person is sick or has the virus.
Saying that I have heard of beautiful stories or relatives, partners, husband, and carers that still went ahead and held, touch, and hug someone infected with COVID. To those people, my heart goes to them.
Today it is more important than ever that we still feel love and connection with others. Touch is the fastest way to create warmth between people. It is a quick way to feel supported and safe. In these uncertain times, for your well-being, please keep your affection alive.
If you are unsure about the benefits of affection, let me tell you that touch is a natural immune booster. Several research studies found that human touch increases hemoglobin. This body reaction helps your body heal faster, prevents depression, and increases the heart and brain’s oxygen.
A study by the University of Carolina found that affection between a supportive partner can reduce emotional reactivity and reduce negative stress.
I want to give you specific guidelines on how to increase affection to improve your well-being and the people around you.
Renowned clinical social worker, Virginia Satir, found that we all need eight hugs a day to provide mental stability. If you feel that you need to improve your mental balance, she recommends 12 hugs day. These amounts of hugs help your central nervous system get out of survival mode and build a sense of trust.
If you are living on your own, you can practice self- hugs. Sit on a chair and wrap yourself with your arms. You can swing side to side or back and forward to soothe yourself.
Also, you can do things like body scrub or self-massage. These two strategies also work for self-soothing and activating the emotional benefits of human touch. If you have a pet, spend more time petting, hugging, and kissing your pet.
So go ahead and stay connected and affectionate. It will help your mood, calm your stress, and boost your health.
“I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them.”
How are you going to satisfy your affection needs today?