Living through a new norm (25th July 2020): As Australians we are learning to live in a new normal. Reeling under the news of a possible new wave of the pandemic, learning to maintain social distancing, learning to be more cautious about hygiene and following health guidelines like a prayer.
And through all this we are relinquishing many things that we took for granted. Losing such a lot,- think of the warmth of a hug, the touch of warmness in a handshake. The importance of physical contact including touch has been well documented in social studies. Did you know that the science of touch in modern age came in the 1990s when two scientists traveled to Romania to examine the sensory deprivation of children in understaffed orphanages? They pointed out that touch deprived children had resulted in strikingly lower cortisol and growth development levels for children of their own age.
Social distancing is taking its toll of our social and emotional psyche today. We all understand that we cannot benefit from the feeling of touch in a way we could before. And we have to learn other ways that we can make up for this loss. Perhaps, through conversation, strong communication, through strengthening social relationships in new ways. What is your best form of nonphysical touch?
Let us all be creative as we create a new norm. We know that touch stimulates our nerves and helps fight disease. Let us all figure out how we can stimulate our nerves and increase our cortisol and even assist our bodies to increasenatural killer cells that kill viral cells, bacteria cells.
Now more than ever it is important to step up on our physical exercise that will help stimulate us and increase our serotonin which is our body’s natural antidepressant and anti-pain chemical. There are social thinkers who have said that yoga is a form of self-touch, self-massage, rubbing your limbs against the floor. You could also consider other forms of exercise like fast walking, and a lot of different exercises.
Let not the technologically saturated world take away from you the pleasure of touch. It is the one trait that distinguishes humans from other animals. Hope we can return to the warm handshake, the sympathetic hug, the congratulatory pat and other forms of emotional expression soon. Despite all our scientific innovations and social media, it is vital for us to preserve human touch in order for us to truly thrive and succeed – and evolve.
But for the moment let us follow our health directives and work with each other to overcome this pandemic. Together.