The pandemic drained us physically and emotionally. Most experts focus on how months of social isolation has affected our mental health. But, not much is said about the harm caused from being starved for physical contact.
Social distancing limited us to awkward hugs and fist bumps. A poor substitute for the warmth of an embrace, a kiss on the cheek or just holding someone’s hand.
Turns out that touch is essential to well-being and vital to our psychological health. When deprived of human affection, we humans get depressed. We ache for that sense of reassurance. Doctors are convinced that touch even helps the body manage stress.
We are we’re suffering from an ailment called touch hunger. And for some, being detached from friends and family, the loneliness has been soul crushing.
When deprived of touch, our body produces a hormone called cortisol. It tends to boost our heart rate and jack up our blood pressure. Touch hunger can weaken our immune and digestive systems. But wait, there’s more! It also leads to an increase in aggressive behavior, anxiety, depression, self-abuse, eating disorders and lower self-esteem.
Here’s my take. To find comfort, millions of us adopted pets. Some coped by crawling under heavy blankets or getting an intense massage. But, nothing soothes the soul like a good, old-fashioned hug.
As more people work remotely, it’ll be interesting to see how the lack of human touch affects a company’s culture. Can team chemistry thrive without handshakes, bro hugs and high-fives? But I really feel for anyone who’s dating during the pandemic. It’s hard to experience love via Zoom.
Some things must be experienced firsthand…so to speak.