In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health.
The benefits of touch start from the moment we’re born. A review of research, conducted by Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of touch, found that preterm newborns who received just three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for 5-10 days gained 47 percent more weight than premature infants who’d received standard medical treatment.
As Kelly Bartlett points out, being regularly physically affectionate with kids of all ages helps maintain the emotional connection they share with their parents. When that bond remains strong, challenging behavioral situations decrease and discipline becomes less intense overall.
Games involving person-to-person contact (e.g. horsey rides, piggy back rides, wrestling, tag etc.) promote the release of positive brain chemicals and bring families closer together in a fun, physical way.
As children grow and become more independent and social, opportunities for cuddling naturally diminish, and it becomes important for parents to take extra effort to find ways to physically connect with them. Reading to a child or even watching a movie on the couch is a wonderful way to get close, as it invites leaning into, lying on, snuggling, touching, and arm-wrapping.
And educators, take note: A study by French psychologist Nicolas Gueguen has found that when teachers pat students in a friendly way, those students are three times as likely to speak up in class.
Touch is very important for adults too. According to scientists, touch reduces both physiological and perceived stress; touch causes one’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, to decrease while causing other hormones, like oxytocin, to increase which promote social bonding and wellness.
According to Dacher Keltner, touch is our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion. In fact, in his research he has found that people can not only identify love, gratitude, and compassion from touches but can differentiate between those kinds of touch, something people haven’t done as well in studies of facial and vocal communication.
Interestingly enough, two gender differences have been identified in Dacher Keltner’s research:
It might seem surprising, but touch may mean more to men than they let on: A 2011 study by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction polled more than 1,000 men and their female partners in five countries about the power of touch and found that for men between the ages of 40 and 70, regular cuddling was more important than sex. The more men hugged and kissed, the happier they considered their relationships.
There are times—during intense grief or fear, but also in ecstatic moments of joy or love—when only the language of touch can fully express what we feel. This video is an invitation for people to relearn the power of touch. There’s much to be gained from embracing our tactile sense—in particular, more positive interactions and a deeper sense of connection with others.
Did you touch someone today?
Will you trust me in the valley deep?
Will you trust me as you lay down to sleep?
Yes I will trust you despite the pain
Yes I will trust you without any gain
Will you trust me in the depths of the sea?
Will you trust me though we may not agree?
Yes I will trust you in the darkest night
Yes I will trust you when I have no sight
Will you trust me when your lost and alone?
Will you trust me when your far from home?
Yes I will trust you when I have lost my way
Yes I will trust you to bring me back one day.
From Banana Moments
I’m 99% angel, but oh, that 1%, particularly my grouchiness… Grouchiness is in my nature as well as nurture, though luckily that grouchy nature got diluted a bit by sprinkles of humour by the time it got to me from my dear grandma.
My dear nanna was not just a grouch, but a Super Grouchy Grouch. Being a bit of a perfectionist, she always puts a lot of effort into everything 😉 . I do not blame her though – she did have a tough life. Still love my tough grouchy nanna. 🙂
No matter how hard I am trying to tame grandma’s grouchy genes, every now and then they pop out, especially when I get under pressure. While I never learned to manage pressure without grouchiness, fortunately, my nearest and dearest learned to manage my grouchiness with grace.
If you have a grouch in your family, do not let his or her grouchiness to wind you up. Respond with a joke or simply give your family grouch a smile, a hug and/or a kiss. Though you might not see any warm response behind the grouchy surface, deep inside your grouch will be pleased. 😉 That might be all your grouch needs to get over it. 🙂
Also, keep your grouch well fed to prevent him or her from getting hAngry. 😉
From Hanger Management
Or, may be, you are a grouch too? Then welcome to My Grouch Family. As the saying goes, “soft words butter no parsnips”. May be, our grouching will do 😉
And here is one of my favourite grouches who made this world a better place for over a million of people:
Fred’s grouchy story is available on my blog.
“A grandmother is like an angel, who takes you under her wing, she watches over you and she’d give you anything.”
( ‘Nanna’ by Valentin Loginov )
“Why do you never argue with your man. Is her beating you up?”
“No, nanna, of course, not.”
“Are you scared of him?”
“Certainly not, nanna.”
“Why do you never argue with your man then? Don’t tell me lies. I know life, my little star…”
Nanna surely did know life. She was born in the years of famine, soon after revolution, fed on water instead of breast milk. Her mother was very sick, so from early age nanna was running the house: scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking from morning till night.
She got married at 19 and moved to live with her husband and her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law was no good at housekeeping, so nanna was to do all the house chores: scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking from morning till night, delivering babies at night at the local maternity hospital. She used to be a midwife.
Soon my mum was born, then my uncle. More scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking from morning till night. She was so hard-working and so naive. She could not stop laughing when she first saw her man crawling on all fours to the house one night. Soon her laughter turned into tears. Her man started drinking heavily and beating her up. Scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking, moans, groans and tears.
To get more vodka, her man started selling everything they had. By the time nanna got a divorce, there was nothing left at all: just four empty walls and bare floors. Her man was gone. She never saw him again. There was no child-support either.
Even four walls did not last long. Nanna was lucky enough to get a room in a communal flat shared with 3 other familes – it was better than to be kicked out on a street with two little kids. Scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking, working 24-hour shifts to feed her hungry kids.
Nanna was still delivering babies at the local maternity hospital, when I was born. Scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking, running after her daughter’s kids. She looked after me during the day, doing night shifts at the hospital. “My life is over,” she used to say to me. “You are my only hope, my only star.”
We shared a room with nanna. She used to get up with the first rays of sun and tip-toe to the kitchen to make some porridge for me. “Hush,” she would say to everyone. “My little star is asleep. Don’t wake her up. She needs a good rest.”
She used to walk with me to school and pick me up at the end of the day. “Hush,” she would say to everyone. “My little star needs a good dinner. She has been working very hard at school. Studying is a hard work.”
While scrubbing and washing, mending and cooking, she would say “Hush” to everyone. “My little star is doing homework. She is very bright. She needs to study very hard to get a good life.”
“Hush,” she would say to everyone in the evening. “My little star is reading. I can scrub and wash, mend and cook for my little star to shine forever. She deserves a decent life.”
“Why do you never argue with your man? Don’t tell me lies. I know life, my little star…”
( Photo by Jancooler )
You taught me how to laugh again
And gave me back my smile,
Restored my faith in people
When everyone seemed vile.
You were as if the sun came up
Upon my bitter night
And bade the blackness rustle up
Some joyful morning light.
( by Nicholas Gordon )
( Photo by CarbonKid )
Never forget those, who were there for you
when no one else was…
Send them your smile to remind that
they did make a difference for you…