The power of touch
Human touch is often a neglected subject yet it is so vital to our everyday lives. Touch is a fundamental part of human relationships, and life without physical contact is a lonely life indeed. (I’m talking about the nourishing, wholesome kind of touch and not the “bad” touch we warn our children about).
From the moment we make our debut into this world, we are greeted by the loving hands of our parents. Touch is our first language; it is instant, recognizable, and from our first touch we begin to learn. When my daughter was born prematurely, she was placed in a neonatal unit and when I wasn’t with her she wouldn’t respond to her feedings. When I was there to hold, massage and feed her, she thrived.
When touch is doled out with love, it builds relationships in our homes, workplaces and our communities. Frequent pats and hugs, tousles of the hair, or squeezes on the arm from a parent can make our children’s hearts swell. When your boss gives you a pat on the back or a firm handshake for a job well done, it’s worth its weight in gold. Touching heals, especially when given to critically ill patients who often are isolated and rely on complete strangers to care for their needs.
A tender touch can reduce fear, anxiety, depression and loneliness. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old, human touch is critical for us to survive, to thrive, to empathize, to sympathize, to galvanize and to humanize.
Touch can be taken for granted. But it’s as necessary and needed as the life jacket we put on our children, or the seatbelt we strap over our shoulders. Human touch protects us from harm, keeps us safe and moving forward in a positive direction.
When I drop my kids off at school in the morning, no one gets out of the van without a hug and kiss from Mom. This daily ritual and send-off reassures them they are loved, builds their confidence and self-esteem and sets the tone for their day.
Touch is free, and when given freely and accepted, it simply tells us we are not alone in this world. And no matter what slings and arrows are hurled at us each day, knowing we are not alone keeps us strong, healthy and motivated.
Go on now; give your loved ones a hug or a pat on the back today!