According to the Hashtag Holidays Calendar today is #CuddleUpDay” (and they don’t mean with your smart phone or Netflix account!
Whether it’s a significant other, family member, or a beloved pet, physical contact connects us to those we care about in an intimate way.
I have fond memories as a child of my grandma stroking my back to help me fall asleep. Or, later as a parent, answering my young daughter’s request to “pet her cheeks” when I held her in the rocking chair. We all benefit by and appreciate the affectionate touch of a loved one.
There’s also “bad touching” or the complete absence of touch, both of which have especially negative and lasting consequences. People who suffered physical/sexual abuse or were neglected as children face many problems as a result.
Either way, research has proven that the power of touch is unmistakable and dramatically impacts our quality of life:
#1 – Promotes Physical & Emotional Health
- Lowers heart rate & blood pressure
- Boosts immune system
- Activates the vagus nerve in the brain which is involved with the compassion response, which impacts personal & societal relationships
- Triggers oxytocin – (aka the “feel good hormone”) which inspires positive thinking and optimism
- Triggers endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers
- Triggers serotonin – regulates mood & prevents depression
- People become healthier over time
#2 – Provides Intimacy
- Touching is a non-verbal communication that signals cooperation
- This intimacy applies to personal AND professional relationships (i.e. hugs, handshakes, high-fives)
- Strengthens team dynamics – Research of the NBA showed that teams whose players touch each other more often won more games
#3 – Prevents Violence
- Science has proven that touching & cuddling in early life leads to more emotional stability
- Children who are neglected and without maternal bonding tend to be more violent
- Children who receive physical contact in a loving, caring manner have less violent tendencies
Non-verbal communication is the way we transmit information without speech. Our posture, facial expressions, stance, gestures, etc. display our emotions without us ever saying a word.
Even when we try to hide them there are subtle clues that reveal our true feelings. (Remember that the next time you tell a lie or try to disguise your anger!)
So, take advantage of all the ways to show your love and affection to the people who matter most. And taking time to cuddle up with them is a great way to celebrate the relationship, as well as the holiday! 🙂