I love a good hug.
Is there any better way to say you care about someone else? It doesn’t have to be charged with sexuality. It’s not even intimate. A hug is a simple expression from one human to another that says they matter. They’re important. They’re welcome.
How often do you hug your friends? What about the people you love?
I promise you it’s not enough.
We interact with the world with our body. Most of the time we do it with our hands.
Have you ever stopped to consider how often you use your hands? They hold, grab, rub, type, write, and let go of stuff. They high five, stir coffee, hold cups, flick ears, tickle, play, and hold loved ones. Your hands are busy!
Hold The World in Your Hand
The real beauty of our hands is within the diverse array of sensations awaiting them.
Take a moment and become aware of your hands. What are they feeling right now? Are they hot or cold? Are they relaxed or clenched? Go ahead and relax your hands. Run your fingertips along the palm of your opposite hand. Notice how that feels. Rub your thumb and first finger together. Notice all the subtle changes in sensation. Play with your hands.
Reach out and feel the bark on a tree. Allow your hands to gently glide down the surface. Take in all the ways your hands change direction as the slide along the grooves of the tree. Realize you’re interacting with another living thing that helps you breathe. A living thing that’s probably older than you, and will likely outlive you.
Run your hands through water. Pay attention to how it flows with ease over your skin. There’s evidence to suggest rubbing your hands together under water can wash away stress, and even guilt, from your mind.
Play with dirt. Draw in the sand. Feel the difference between flowers and grass. Hold a cup of coffee and notice the warmth. There’s no real limit to the sensations you can experience with your hands.
Play with your world.
Say It With Your Hands
Are you sitting near your partner? Reach out and hold their hand. Watch the smile start at the corners of their mouth. They may not even notice, but their brain is aware. That simple touch delivers a large gift of warmth and connection.
You can share this gift with anyone when appropriate.
Reach out and touch your mom’s hand when she’s happy. Try it again when she’s sad or angry. This is an adventure in our family. My mom isn’t the best at showing affection, but she’s amazing when it comes to laughing. She will resist a hug with a smile and laughter while yelling, “Get away from me!” My kids think it’s one of the best games ever invented. Hug Grandma.
This doesn’t always have to be tender. We use our hands to express our emotions with high fives, fist bumps, and various fingers up and down. You know the ones.
Pay attention to all the ways you live with your hands.
Use your hands, because they’re one of the best presents we got when we were blessed with human bodies. — Sarah Kathleen Peck
Why Touching Matters
It’s not hard to remember all the times a simple touch made the difference in your day. I choose a hair salon over a barber for one major reason. They wash my hair. I love the feeling of someone’s hands in my hair. It melts stress away. It’s that extra bit of attention that says I matter.
Touch connects you with people who support you. You set your intention to spend more time with friends and family, and you will actually be feeding the safety and companionship circuits in your brain. This will produce an overall sense of safety and warmth even when you’re alone. Who doesn’t want that?
Touch is also soothing. Sometimes a single touch on the shoulder is enough to release tension. It’s a gesture that says you’re not alone, and someone cares about you.
Nurturing awareness of your hands is also a simple way to increase mindfulness. You’ll be more aware of what you’re doing as well as what you’re feeling. You’ll be alive in that moment. This will make you notice all the subtle sensations of the world around you with more clarity, even with the people you love.
Learn to enjoy the moments you share a touch or a hug. Adopt an attitude of gratefulness in the moment. Allow the good experience to soak into every crevice and corner of your mind. You literally rewire your brain for more positive emotions when you sense good uplifting moments like these sinking into your being. Take every opportunity you can to connect.
The Gift of Touch Begets a Gift in Return
You know it feels good to be hugged. It’s comforting to hold a loved one’s hand. It’s soothing to pet an animal. It’s fun to play with a baby’s hair. Did you know there are hidden health benefits to all this touching?
Physical touch – from holding hands to hugs – carries the following benefits:
- Increased Positive Mood and Emotions
- Lowered Stress and Anxiety
- Increased Feeling of Safety and Companionship
- Strengthened Immune System
- Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
See anything you don’t want? I didn’t think so. In case that’s not enough, try these:
- Because it feels good!
- You think somebody smells nice.
- It confuses strangers.
- A hug given is a hug returned.
- Bear hug competition.
- It’s all absolutely positively FREE!
You experience the world through your hands. The only rivals they have are your eyes and ears. The verdict is in. Touch is an essential ingredient to a good life.
Reach out and hug someone.