This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
CHITCHAT: Here’s a link to a 2016 Super Bowl commercial (coming up on February 7, 2016) for Toyota Prius where I play the woman with a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZfIrXakHIE
Now, on to my blog:
(photo attributed to User:BartFuse)
Touch is one of our five major senses. We usually don’t think about it because the senses of sight and hearing seem so much more important. They are, of course, but don’t underestimate the power of touch. It allows us to experience temperatures, textures, pressure, etc.
Touch, also, helps make human connection. When communicating with another, we often include touching: tapping someone on the hand, jabbing them in the chest with our fingertip, clapping them on the back. We use such expressions as: touch a nerve, touch base, touchy, etc. to describe feelings and behaviors.
It feels good to be touched and to touch another. We do it in intimate contact as well as social communication. We shake hands to connect more closely upon greeting each other. We link arms when walking which both helps us steady ourselves and feel closer to our companion. We may tap a listener on the hand or arm to emphasize a point which not only commands attention, but also conveys a closer feeling between the two parties.
We derive comfort from touch. Parents touch their children as much as possible, or should, conveying to them a feeling of protection and love. Animals touch each other in herds, packs, pods, and all the other collectives, conveying a sense of belonging to a group. I saw a lovely video awhile ago showing the first steps of different baby animals including the human kind. I remember the long black tongue of the giraffe mother licking her newborn to encourage it to try standing up. Other mothers of various breeds did the same or similar, sometimes nuzzling their young. None stood back while their offspring struggled alone. Touching them was urgent to aid in their progress.
We as self-contained, I’m-just-for-myself human beings can connect to one another using touch when other means are not within our comfort zone. For example, patting someone on the shoulder encourages them. Holding hands enables bonding.
Another form of feel-good touching is hugging. There’s a camaraderie to that gesture. Hugging friends or even acquaintances in a non-threatening but heartfelt way conveys a warmth, an acceptance. Hugging upon the initial encounter as well as the termination sends a message: “I’m happy to see you,” or “It’s been so nice being with you.” Check out this wonderful video of a man in a well-trafficked, London square holding up a sign saying, FREE HUGS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGZOAVLFMHU. People regarded him strangely at first, but soon someone took him up on his offer. Within a short time, a crowd gathered and he had a lot of takers. Everyone seemed to be positive, upbeat, and enjoying the experience.
Some people have grown up in situations where touch was very limited, or touch feels offense to them. If that describes you, practice slowly to bring touch into your life. Start with just one quick tap with your fingertip on another person’s hand or knee during a conversation. Take baby steps to increase your touch contact with others.
Don’t forget the importance of touch. Incorporate it into your life. It’s a win-win for both the touchor and the touchee. Start touching people in a non-offensive yet warm, caring manner. It’s a benefit for each party to the transaction.
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