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The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain, to show them that we love them not when we feel like it, but when they do. Nan Fairbrother
Cuddling comes up as one of the best ways to make someone feel loved. It not only boosts loving feelings, but it also lowers stress and boosts immunity.
Babies do not do well if they are not touched. Infant monkeys that had direct contact with their mothers grew up to be friendly, patient, social, happy and physically healthier than baby monkeys who were provided with indirect sustenance such as bottled milk but no direct physical affection and comfort from their mothers.
Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia
Our need for touch doesn’t go away as we become adults. Touch is nonverbal communication which can communicate tenderness, compassion, anger, love, gratitude, happiness and fear within seconds.
Touch can be influential. Studies show individuals who have been touched are more likely to agree to participate in mall interviews. Waitresses get bigger tips if they slightly touch the patrons, bus drivers are more likely to give a free ride if the passenger touches them while making the request.
The physical act of a kind and warm touch lowers one’s blood pressure and releases the “love hormone” oxytocin. We get the same benefit if we give or receive hugs.
Studies show the most successful married couples touch often. Touch outranks sex in the characteristics of a successful marriage. Touch comes in many forms, cuddling, backrubs, hand holding, hugs, foot massages, nuzzling, stroking hair, side of face, and ears.
Tips to bring more touch into your relationship:
Hug at least once a day more is preferable. Six is given as the magic number to increase intimacy in How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about it.
When in a low-level disagreement add some kind of physical touch to potentially diffuse the situation and connect with each other.
Flirt with your partner. Give a peck on the cheek, tousle your partner’s hair, caress their shoulders, touch their arm, tickle them in a light and playful way, or reach for their hand. Sit close together on the couch while you watch TV.
Be willing to make the first move after a disagreement. It is easy to let coldness descend into our marriage. Coldness begets coldness. We need to be vulnerable and reach for our partner. Touch is a part of new relationships we need to keep it part of our relationship as we go forward. We use the healing power of touch to remind each other how much we care and are cared for. Without touch, we may feel we are not loved or cared for. Reach out and touch someone.
Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language, and the last, and it always tells the truth. Margaret Atwood