Loralyn Mears, PhD
Monday Motivation: The Lost Touch
This article was originally published on May 11, 2020 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-lost-touch/
Monday motivation, we need it, let’s go! We see you, struggling to get your day started and in need of a pick-me-up to launch your week on the right foot. Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. Grit Daily is here to get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday motivation!
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Touch can heal
A few years ago, the NY Times published an article highlighting studies that delved into the power of touch which is today’s Monday motivation theme. For decades, American culture has been shifting towards a reduction in touch. Yes, there are clear barriers around #metoo. However, the boundaries around non-sexual touch between men are fuzzy at best. Women are generally more open than men to hugs and non-sexual hand-on-hand and hand-on-shoulder contact from other women which may be related to women’s comparative longevity versus men.
Look at sports, for example. There, touch is not taboo. Male athletes have dissociated men touching men with sexuality and associate it with nurturing relationships. Hence, they are free to connect with each other through touch which helps build team camaraderie and takes the edge off all that testosterone on the field or court or rink. Think about handshakes and how the act of touching palm-to-palm signifies that start of a relationship: going forward, it’s unclear if handshakes will endure.
Touch has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (especially in women), to reduce blood pressure, stress and heart rate. Many regard the sense of touch as having “the power to heal” as touching can lead to a boost in immunity and working memory. It is the first sense that we develop as newborns. Touch doesn’t even have to be human to human; we get tremendous benefit from cuddling a furry pet. Adoptions of rescue animals have soared to all-time highs since the pandemic began which suggests how touch and companionship can work in concert to combat loneliness and our need for human touch.
Monday motivation tips to touch in a COVID world
Yesterday, there were countless heartbreaking Mother’s Day videos and photos of moms in healthcare, on the front-lines, extending their arms in the air to virtually hug their children since touching them in-person would put their children at unnecessary risk. And what kind of mom would do that to her child? Countless photos have shown seniors in elder care facilities looking helplessly through the windows at their loved ones outside.
We can’t even get to a spa for a massage to experience those healing benefits. Monday motivation understands the power of touch – but it’s not so easy to do in this virtual world that we currently live in. How do we touch each other from a distance?
#1 – touch the screen
Fingerprints be damned! You can always clean your screen. The physical act of touching the glass window or the phone screen or whatever barrier it is that separates you from your friend or loved one can do wonders. Touch stimulates the release of endorphins and you can derive great benefits from the act of touching, even if it isn’t in-person.
#2 – touch an object owned or gifted from your loved one
Perhaps it’s an old cardigan your loved one used to wear or it’s as inanimate as a vase. Hold it. Pause, and think about your favorite memories of that person. Of course, nothing can compare to seeing them again and hugging them in person, but this may be the only option that you have. Take it!
#3 – hug yourself
Yes, it sounds weird and maybe even uncomfortable. If that’s challenging for whatever reason, hug your pillow. It will simulate a little of the physical act and experience of hugging someone even if it’s going to fall short of your needs and expectations, doing so will offer a little boost.
All of us here at Monday motivation recognize that we’re still in challenging times, and the hardships are far from over. Hang in there! We’re here to get you through one Monday, one day, one week at a time.
If you’re a podcast person, gain some inspiration and insights from our guests on my “Like a Boss” content: listen here on our Grit Daily podcast channel on Apple iTunes. If you like my writing, check out my new novel, The Battle for Humanity, it’s a thriller you won’t be able to put down and I’ll be making a donation to our foodbank. Have a fabulous week!