Although many people these days seem to judge their self-worth based on the number of followers they have on Instagram, or the number of people who liked their post on Facebook, a new study from British psychologists says physical touch is still the most powerful way to connect with and soothe another human being.
Check out this article for more about the specifics of the study: (http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/touch-soothe-rejection-1.4363121)
Specifically, physical touch buffers against social rejection and emotional pain. But not just any kind of touch: The touch must be a soft, slow, soothing touch, as opposed to a quick ‘pat pat’ on the back.
This is especially relevant in today’s world, where much of our conversation happens online, in an environment where physical touch isn’t possible, says the study.
In other words, making an effort to meet up in person, and reach out to hug a friend, is much more powerful than just giving their online post a thumbs up, or texting them a smiley face emoji.
This isn’t the only study to show the importance of physical touch. Research also shows physical touch helps to:
Less touch when you’re a child, especially when you’re a baby, leads to greater violence as an adult.
Touch helps people bond together. Neuroscientist Edmund Ross’s work found that physical touch is linked to feelings of compassion. Meanwhile, other studies have shown that physical touch releases oxytocin—a hormone sometimes considered “the love hormone.”
Stronger immune system:
People who get more hugs from their partners have lower heart rates and blood pressure. Hugs are also believed to stimulate the thymus gland, which regulates the body’s white blood cells, essentially keeping you healthier and free of disease.
A gentle brush of a woman’s arm can boost a man’s chance of love (or lust at the very least). One particular study showed that 66 percent of women agreed to dance with a man after he touched her arm before asking to dance with her.
Better for the brain:
Although it is frowned upon these days, students whose teachers touch them platonically, such as a pat on the back, learn better. They’re also more likely to speak up in class if the teacher offers physical touch as encouragement. And get this: When a librarian touches a student, he/she is more likely to return his books!
Human touch leads to better human communication and better overall health!
Soooo…… Stop thinking your job is done because you sent a compassionate text message. Step up and dish out a hug or two!