Did you know that most Americans need an average of 2-4 feet of “personal space” to feel comfortable as compared to Latin Americans who need just about 1-2 feet? Experts say that his privacy wall has led to collective touch depravation. We have gotten to a point in our society where there is so much taboo associated with casual touching that many of us shy away from the basic contact we need to feel valued and connected. Research shows that casual touching such as hugging, pats on the back, or a quick squeeze can increase oxytocin levels in our brains. This can lower blood pressure over time and contribute to an over-all sense of well-being no matter whether you are on the giving or receiving end.
Diana Spechler, who wrote about this subject for a 2013 issue of Oprah magazine, tried her own little 7 day study on the subject. She made a point of reaching out and touching those she interacted with; when appropriate. She said she felt she was giving out gifts all week and it made her very happy. Sadly, the chances of anyone replicating that study in today’s #metoo climate are slim.