In recent years, society as a whole has changed its view of physical touch. We’ve decided that hugging someone or patting them on the back simply isn’t okay. Although that may be true when the person on the receiving end of it isn’t happy about being touched, it’s also become the case between close friends, family members, and even romantic partners.
Now, we’ve grown accustomed to keeping a good distance from everybody and experts believe that it may be damaging our mental health. That’s because we’re living in an age where people have forgotten the importance of physical touch.
It’s Hurting Us
Physical touch is extremely important to our emotional wellbeing. Without it, our mental health can suffer and we can begin to feel isolated, depressed, or anxious.
You don’t need to hug or cuddle someone either. Even a gentle pat on the shoulder can be enough to improve your mental health. In fact, a study from the University College London has found that gentle touches can help people to feel more socially included.
Despite what people may think, human touch is vital. Take, for example, Princess Diana. She was the first prominent figure to shake the hand of someone who was suffering from AIDS. That was because she knew that such a simple act could comfort someone who was suffering. So, she even encouraged people to hug those who were suffering from the disease. In turn, it sparked a debate that led to the normalization of people with the illness.
People Are Being Warned Against It
In most cases, the new conversation that has arisen about personal boundaries and consent is a positive thing. However, some people believe that it all may have gone a step too far. There are foster parents who are too frightened to hug their foster children and doctors who are told they could be sued for comforting a patient by hugging them.
There have even been stories of parents who were too afraid to pick up someone else’s child who fell and hurt themselves. Likewise, if a child falls during school hours, teachers are advised to tell them to put a bandage on by themselves.
At this point, we’ve completely demonized touch. Any form of it, no matter how innocent, sparks hysterical reactions from people. It’s no wonder then that people are terrified of even accidentally brushing against someone in a hallway or on the street.
We’re Desperate for Companionship
We’ve forgotten just how crucial human touch is. However, people are still trying to compensate for the affection that they’re not getting from their loved ones. Some are even finding solace in professional cuddlers – people whom you can hire to hug and cuddle you.
There are also business running, such as the Cuddle Up To Me retail center, where customers can choose from options on a cuddle menu.
Similarly, there are also machines that are meant to fill in for the physical touch that people are lacking. The most noteworthy of all of them is the Tranquility Chair which was recently developed in Japan. This is a chair which has soft arms which wrap around the person sitting on it.
We are in the middle of a crisis – a crisis of touch. On our journey to make people feel safer and more comfortable, we’ve done the complete opposite. We’ve ended up completely throwing away the importance of physical touch. Now, people’s mental health is suffering as a result.
Do you think that we need to make physical touch normal again? Share this article with your friends and find out what they think too.