Now that I have been traveling there are things that I used to take for granted that I am appreciating more. The one thing that I didn’t realize I would miss so much when being away from my family and home Monday thru Friday on the weeks I do travel is getting to hug my family after work and before bed each day.
The comfort of a gentle embrace can be more healing than any medicines, any words, or any material possessions or accomplishments. Even if you are not a hugger, studies show the power of appropriate touch is transformational in healing.
A great way to be intentional and show your spouse, your family or friends you care is through a hug. It seems we sometimes only provide it during goodbyes. It always seems our natural instinct in times when someone is in pain and no words can help. However, we don’t always give a hug since it makes some people uncomfortable.
On my recent journey, there was a retired female teacher who made many friends at the airport. She was concerned for those around her and offered help as if she was taking care of the kids in her class. When she sat next to me, she touched me as close friends would while gesturing. It caught me off guard at first. Given cultures norms for space and touching strangers on a knee, I reacted internally as many would. The funny thing is, there was something about her that made me know it was her true love for people that made it acceptable and made me remember her.
In sales and management training in my career, I was taught the power of influence once through touch. The instructor had shared that by touching someone appropriately on the wrist or on the arm below the elbow when asking for something, the probability of that person fulfilling your request increased dramatically. While I have not tested it as it seemed like a manipulation, it has always stuck in my mind when I meet someone who naturally touches other people.
Also after all the snuggling with your kids when they are young, there comes a time where that is obviously no longer appropriate yet they still need that touch. I read once that welcomed playful wrestling with your teenager or giving your teenage daughter a shoulder massage when wanted are good ways for your teenager to still experience healthy loving touch and provide comfort or healing to their stress.
Consider giving your loved ones a good hug more often and see how it makes a difference in you and your relationship with them. Allow yourself to fully enjoy it as one day you will wish you could.
For more on the power of a human touch see Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, Ph.D. article in Psychology Today. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/human-touch-is-really-powerful-according-to-science