I just gave out a list of scripture to look at while experiencing anxiety. I read through it again and it does bring me peace. But now, today, I need more than peace. I just listened to Govenor Whittmer of Michigan. She seems to ahve her head securely attached to her shoulders. I like her. But she brought news I was expecting but not looking forward to. Oh, how I long to go outside and see kids coming home from school, or go out on a date with my husband, or give someone a hug! The people I want to hug are too numerous to name, but if I know you, assume I miss giving you a hug!
A while back, maybe a year or so ago, I remember reading about women who attended PRIDE parades and gave out mom hugs. They were sharing hugs with strangers who had lost a relationship with their mothers because of their sexuality. That sounds like something I would do. Not only because I am a mom, or because I give great hugs, but because I know what the loss of human touch can do to a person. It is essential for people to have loving touch in their lives. Corona Virus is making any touch, loving or not, dangerous. This is not a great thing for humanity.
Touch can also calm certain bodily functions , such as your heart rate and blood pressure. It does so by stimulating pressure receptors that transport signals to the vagus nerve. This nerve connects the brain to the rest of the body. It uses the signals to slow the pace of the nervous system.Sep 23, 2019healthline.com
There have been studies on human touch that reveal eight different benefits we receive from human touch. 1. Decreased violence. Less touch as a child leads to greater violence. Child developmental research illustrates that the absence of physical bonding and healthy attachmentbetween an adult and child may result in lifelong emotional disturbances. 2. Greater trust between individuals. Touch helps to bond people together. 3. Economic gain. There are links between economic benefits and physical touch, probably because “touch signals safety and trust; it soothes.” 4. Decreased disease and stronger immune system. Physical touch may also decrease disease. According to research conducted at the University of North Carolina, women who receive more hugs from their partners have lower heart rates and blood pressure: “Hugs strengthen the immune system…The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keeps you healthy and disease free.” Research at University of California’s School of Public Health found that getting eye contact and a pat on the back from the doctor may boost the survival rate of patients with complex diseases. 5. Stronger team dynamics. Paul Zak, author of The Moral Molecule, argues, “We touch to initiate and sustain cooperation.” 6. More non-sexual emotional intimacy. Interpersonal touch has a powerful impact on our emotions. Studies have shown that a gentle brush of a woman’s arm can boost a man’s chances in love; another study showed that twothirds of women agreed to dance with a man who touched her on the arm a second or two before making the request. 7. Greater learning engagement. When teachers touch students platonically, it encourages their learning. French psychologist Nicolas Guéguen reports that when teachers pat students in a friendly way, those students are three times as likely to speak up in class. 8. Overall wellbeing. Adults require human touch to thrive. Keltner says, “In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. ”
So what do we do now? We are not to congregate. We are not to touch. Everything we buy should be touch free. And symptoms of not touching are being seen, aggressive behavior, body image issues, high stress levels, loneliness, mental health issues such as depression.
How can we thrive? How can we get our touch quotient When I was out picking up medication and ran into someone I knew, we didn’t know how to greet each other. We couldn’t shake hands, we couldn’t hug; jumping up and down squealing didn’t seem like a good idea. We decided an elbow bump and a foot shake was the way to go. It felt different. It wasn’t a hug, but it was something. It acknowledged our need to touch, but still fit in with the new rules about not touching.
Hopefully we will move past the need to foot shake or elbow bump. There will come a day when yet again we can hug our friends, our family members who does not live with us, our mailman, or the kid who helps us for no reason other than to be nice.
Until that time comes, I will follow Governor Whittmer’s advice. I will not hug. I will not gather. My son will not go to school. I will elbow bump and foot shake. I will pray that God sees us, knows our pain, and continues to stand with us through this time of loss.
Do you have any thoughts?
Let’s talk about it.