*cues Omarion "Touch"*
Last month we started our series on mental health languages and followed up with detailed insight on the benefits of movement, sound, and sight to your self-care routine. This week, we will continue our discussion by focusing on the last of the four mental health languages; touch. Below, gain knowledge on the benefits of touch in your grounding and healing process, and ways that you can incorporate this language on a daily basis.
A hug. A hold of the hand. A pat on the back. Touch! Yes, these are all comforting actions, but did you know that there are biological reasons why touch is so important and has such a profound impact on our bodies? Let's take hugging for example. Research supports that hugging can cause a sense of calm and relaxation. Why? Because oxytocin aka the "cuddle hormone" is released. As a result, individuals might experience lower levels of stress and a slowing of the heart rate. Science also supports reports that individuals may experience reduced inflammation, expedited healing of wounds, and lower cravings for maladaptive behaviors and things like drugs and alcohol. As if that weren't enough, hugs even have the ability to strengthen our overall immune system and reduce our risk of infection. Crazy, right?
In addition to all of these benefits, touch often helps to increase serotonin aka the "feel good" hormone. Serotonin helps us to feel happy, relaxed, calm, and confident. This increase in serotonin aids in reducing sleep disorders and obesity, while deepening our relationships with others. This skin-to-skin contact aids in increasing cognitive abilities and can occur through small gestures with your friends, family members, associates, and even your furry friends. It's really a beautiful exchange. If you're looking to add some touch into your life, try these activities:
-Give yourself or someone else a hug
-Pet your animal
-Dance with your significant other
-Give or get a massage
-Give a kiss
Please be mindful that we are in a pandemic though, and respect the boundaries of others.
What are some activities that you use to incorporate touch into your self-care routine? Drop them in the comments below!