365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

The wonderful pleasure of physical touch

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Day 58Do you enjoy touching and being touched? Well, who doesn’t? (Except some of our teenagers, who want to distance themselves a little from their parents.)

Do you get and give enough physical touch to feel your best? Michelangelo said, “to touch can be to give life.” You have probably heard of the studies done in orphanages during WWII, where 75% of the babies died, not because they were deprived of security and nutrients, but because they lacked physical touch.

Today it is scientifically proven that physical touch prolongs longevity. We build a sense of security and trust through touching. And touching releases our “happy hormone” endorphins. We cooperate better and understand each other’s emotions better through physical touch. Touching is also one of the most soothing and compassionate acts that we can engage in and, as it releases oxytocin, it can even reduce blood pressure.

When I was growing up in Norway we would laugh at the studies that claimed that people on average would touch each other 7-8 times per day, while in Latin countries that number would be over a hundred. It is for sure nothing humorous that most people in the western cultures, where physical touch is uncommon, are touch deprived.

We can feel happier, healthier and more energetic and alive by increasing the quality and quantity of physical touch that we give and receive from one another! It is simple and it is free! It doesn’t cost one dime…

Touch your partner! Touch your children and parents! Touch your friends and your colleagues! And touch yourself!

If you are interested in studying the health benefits of physical touch for both children and adults; Matthew Hertenstein is faculty at UC Berkley and has studied and published numerous articles and books on the subject.

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