Why the Human Touch Could Be Imperative to the Survival of Humanity
Virtually all human beings inherently long for physical contact with other people, and being able to do so has even been essential for survival throughout the history of humanity. Ironically, many aspects of the modern world have eliminated opportunities for the plutonic touch—please read the list below to find out why this could be catastrophic for humanity in the future.
#1: Enhanced income.
Dr. Keltner argues that plutonic touch results in economic gain: “touch signals safety and trust; it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response.” It’s interesting to note that NBA teams have been shown to win more games when their players touch each other more.
#2: Less anxiety.
Hugs can lower a human being’s heart rate and blood pressure, and regular hugging can decrease stress. According to Sheldon Cohen, a Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Psychology, “Being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress. The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”
#3: Enhanced immunity.
Physical touch actually boosts the human immune system. According to research from the University of North Carolina, “Hugs strengthen the immune system. . . . The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keeps you healthy and disease free.” Furthermore, research from the University of California’s School of Public Health reveals that patients stand a better chance of surviving surgery if their doctor maintains eye contact with them and pats them on the back beforehand.
#4: Non-sexual intimacy results in better team and cooperation skills.
Daniel Keltner, founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and Professor of Psychology at University of California (Berkeley), is credited with discovering that NBA teams win more when they touch more. Just as it leads to more personal success, it also leads to more success for everyone else involved.
#5: Powerful persuasion.
Waitresses who lightly touch customers on the hand or arm get bigger tips, whether the customers are male or female.
#6: Feelings of safety and security.
Ray Williams wrote an article in Psychology Today called, “Why Have We Lost The Need For Physical Touch?”: “Neuroscientist Edmund Ross [found] that physical touch activates the brain’s orbitfrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion. Keltner contends that ‘studies show that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassion response and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka ‘the love hormone.’”
#7: Emotional communication.
Research from the United States and Spain indicates that emotions such as anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy can all be effectively and efficiently conveyed and perceived by way of platonic touch.
#8: Less violence.
People who are loved less as children end up being more violent as adults. As per Neuropsychologist James W. Prescott, violence in society is connected with a lack of maternal bonding; early touch is often what makes emotional stability possible.
#9: Good parenting.
Mark Greene wrote an article in The Good Men Project called, “Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch”: “This touch thing is so crucial. I kiss and hug my son constantly. He sits with me and on me. I make a point of connecting with him physically whenever I greet him. The physical connection I have with him has been transformative in my life teaching me about my value as a human being and a father.”
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