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Losing Touch (covid 19 set back)

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2 years ago

Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.

It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,” says Steve cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Like more than 35 million other Americans, I live alone, and with the guidelines of physical distancing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I hadn’t been getting close to anyone to avoid being infected with (or potentially spreading) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I’d been working, thankfully, at home and staying connected with friends and family through Zoom and Skype, but those virtual interactions were no replacement for being with loved ones in person.

“When we get lonely and isolated our brainstem recognizes that suddenly we are in insecure territory and flips on a bunch of fight-or-flight stress responses without us even knowing it,” Cole says. “There’s all sorts of things in our social world that lead us to calculate that we are either safe or unsafe. You can think of physical touch, supportive and affectionate touch, as the most fundamental signal that you’re with somebody who cares about you . . . a fundamental signal of safety and well-being.

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Comments

Good article dear. It is totally for our own good. To be safe, we need to stay away from coming in contact with someone else

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2 years ago

Thanks for the comment STELLA

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2 years ago