Physical touch can express things that words can’t. We clearly express ourselves through a warm handshake, a sympathetic hug, or a congratulatory pat on the back. Touch is essential for our emotional well-being.
Babies who are isolated or left alone for long periods of time without physical contact fail to thrive. Research conducted by Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of touch, found that preterm newborns who received just three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for 5-10 days gained 47 percent more weight than premature infants who’d received standard medical treatment. (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research)
People feel loved when they are caressed, hugged, held, and kissed. Touch fills the emotional bank account. Hug your child as they go off to school. Show a loved one how much you care with a peck on the cheek to say hello or goodbye. Sit close while watching a movie together.
When I became single, I missed the “family feeling” at church, so I started sitting by a family with several young children. I brought books, toys, colored pencils, and coloring books with me to entertain them. I truly loved these children, and they loved me. It was great to be surrounded by little ones and get to hold them on my lap as we worshiped.
Maybe you’re single and you live alone, it is still important to have touch in your life. Swap foot massages with a friend. Regularly schedule a massage. Lightly scratch your sibling’s back. Offer hugs more freely. If you like animals, cuddle your pet - the unconditional love of an animal can be healing.
Someday I want to volunteer in a newborn nursery at a hospital. Every time I get to hold a newborn baby I’m reminded of the miracle of life. I love how babies smell, how they squeak and whimper, yawn, and startle. I love everything about them! It’s easy to be fully present as I soak up every little bit of their baby essence. There are few things I enjoy more than snuggling a sleeping baby.
Consider spending some time being around little children. Put a child on your lap to read a story or sing a song. Play “Pat-a-cake” or brush a little girl’s hair. Hold a child’s hand as you walk down the street or give a little one a piggyback ride.
People of all ages appreciate a loving gesture. Touch communicates caring, and if someone’s love language is physical touch, they appreciate it even more. When we care about someone, there are many ways to show it. Physical contact sends a message of closeness and comfort. It creates a sense of belonging. A gentle touch can make a good day even better!