We have forgotten how to connect by touch. Yes, we give someone an occasional embrace and a kiss on the cheek, but how we relate to people has been changed by modern technology. We assume like we are more linked to each other, but it’s not true: a screen can never replace a touch or a pat on the back of the neck. This is troubling because the first sense we used to connect contacts and it’s the one we neglect to do better today.
1. Touch is part of how humans have been made to interact.
Intrinsically, touch is part of the way human beings are programmed to interact. It’s the first sense that we use to do so and our first real language can be considered. Just ask any mom how touching her pregnant belly can often encourage kicks from her boy.
The idea that nonverbal communication is important for understanding each other, such as posture and looks, is not new. However, a study has only recently shown that we can perceive feelings from other forms of nonverbal communication, such as contact. We are born knowing how to “speak touch” and not only can you convey more than one emotion at a time, such as appreciation, pride, and satisfaction, using this language; but touching another person also makes their message clearer.
2. Healthy Relationship Must Thrive.
It is important to use touch in a relationship to express feelings to cultivate a bond, fulfillment, happiness, and a sense of security and belonging. The connection can become so strong that scientists have found that to synchronize their brain waves, heartbeats, breathing, and the relief of pain, couples just need to hold hands.
Besides, contact is so strong that the biological effects on your partner can be caused. It allows the brain to release oxytocin, which is a substance that makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and in love, also known as the hormone of love.
3. Touch is very necessary for kids, it’s truly a matter of life and death.
Even when all their basic needs are met, such as food, rest, and diaper change, research shows that babies who are deprived of touch daily will die. If the mother, father, or any other adult does not hug, kiss, hold and cuddle the baby long enough in the absence of the parent, their growth and mental health can be compromised and their lives can eventually be affected. This may be one truth that can prove to human beings how important touch is.
Scientists recognize that touch transcends healthy physical, emotional, and mental development. Some think our desire for contact is related to our need for love. To help us remain alive, it would have been a survival tool we evolved during evolution.
4. It’s a solution to our mental health.
Since we’re social animals, contact is what our basic needs need. Depending on the culture, most of our social encounters are followed by a kind of touch, such as a pat on the back, a handshake, a hug, or a welcoming kiss. They help build a trusting relationship. That is why isolation is seen not only as a lack of social contact with individuals but also as physical interaction.
Touch allows us to become aware of our personal and physical boundaries, but allowing others to come across those boundaries makes it possible to establish familiarity and to communicate with friends and lovers.
5. It could also be significant for our physical health.
It is easy to see why many people opt for conventional remedies with so many physical procedures at their disposal that do not result in excessive medical bills. It could be an acupuncture consultation or a chiropractic massage session. But the fact is, these therapies work, apart from the lower price, since many of them require touch.
For example, in Chinese and Indian cultures, touch has long been considered to be a healing treatment. Today, medical science is beginning to demonstrate how powerful it can be. Examples range from a study that investigated how touch can be a way to relieve pain in cancer patients to another study that investigated how touch decreases anxiety in dementia patients.
6. It makes you and your brain happy.
We experience the feeling of pleasure because our brain releases oxytocin when we allow others to contact us. The chemical induces a reduction in blood pressure and decreases norepinephrine, a stress hormone, and we feel relaxed and happy as a result. Therefore, people who communicate more often with the use of touch have higher oxytocin levels and a higher degree of well-being in exchange.
7. It makes things more real.
Touch manifests stuff to us as being more true than any meaning. It’s a clear way of knowing our world. We immediately appeal to touch in cases where we find ourselves doubting our environment or our senses, so we trust it more to show us what truth is like. The example of the apostle, Thomas, who asked to touch the wounds of Jesus to ensure that the man he was seeing was really Jesus, coined this “Thomas Effect” and its name.
We not only have more faith in knowing the truth of our world, but also in that of ourselves and our social relationships, such as how close we are to a friend.
8. Touch is a trick we use to convince someone of something.
A study showed that if a contact complements the request, we are more likely to support a stranger. Other research indicates that if they slightly touch the shoulder of the customer during the transaction, a waiter earns higher tips in a restaurant.
That’s because contact can be used to improve honesty and trustworthiness, so try to touch the other person gently every time you need any support or want to close a deal. Maybe you’ll persuade them to do what you want!
Do you think we can restore touch in this digital age someday? After reading this, would you like to see, hug, and kiss your friends more often? In the comment section, tell us!
Illustrated by Alice Perkmini