It feels like I’ve been getting irritated more and more easily in recent months. It’s not just my age (or my kids’ ages), the pandemic, or our national turbulence. I think I just really need a hug. A spontaneous, joyous, “Hey, so good to see you!” heartfelt hug.
For me, the loss of physical contact has been one of the most detrimental consequences of this pandemic period. Positive physical touch is a scientifically proven mood booster. It’s how we show affection and establish relationships with others. Touch releases the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin, which helps generate positive thinking, increase compassion, and build trust. Touch also increases dopamine and serotonin levels, which help regulate mood and relieve stress and anxiety. It has been found to boost our immune system and lower blood pressure. In other words, it is essential to our well-being.