Social Touch Eases Anxiety and Loneliness
In our current age of digital communication and social distancing, the importance of human touch has never been more apparent. While we can connect with friends and family online, it is not the same as the physical contact that we need as social beings. Recent research has shown that social touch can have powerful effects on both our mental and physical health.
Anxiety and loneliness are two of the most common mental health issues that people face. In a world where we are increasingly isolated from each other, it’s no wonder that so many of us are struggling with these feelings. However, social touch can be a powerful tool in combating these negative emotions.
Research has shown that social touch releases oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with feelings of trust and bonding. This hormone can help:
- Reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Increase feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Activate the vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating our bodily functions, such as heart rate and digestion. This can lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, in our current pandemic world, many people are not receiving the social touch they need. Social distancing and lockdowns have made it difficult to hug friends and family or even shake hands with colleagues. However, there are still ways to get the benefits of social touch:
- Some people have found comfort in holding their own hand or wrapping themselves in a warm blanket.
- Massage chairs or weighted blankets can also provide a similar sensory experience.
- Pat on the back or a hug can go a long way in making someone feel connected and cared for.
- Holding hands with a loved one while taking a walk can provide both physical touch and social interaction.
To learn more, click here to check out this summary from The Washington Post.