I'm not talking about Cannibalism, I'm talking about physical connection. From the moment we're born, we learn that touch is crucial for building relationships with others, it's how we get fed and are taken are of.
Our lives are full of it. From shaking hands, to the comforting squeeze on your forearm from a friend when you've had a tough day. Life is full of these little gestures that keep us connected to other people.
Thanks to this global pandemic of COVID19, we've been starved of it for months.
Human touch has the power to stimulate pathways for the love hormone oxytocin, as well as the natural antidepressant serotonin and the pleasure chemical dopamine.
When we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else, the level of these chemicals rise, reducing stress levels and boosting our happiness.
Skin-to-skin contact is vital for our physical health. Touch can calm our heart rate and lower our blood pressure.
When we miss out on regular touch, especially for prolonged periods, we are deprived of its social, psychological and physiological benefits. The pandemic has been like a famine, we're all experiencing an insatiable hunger; human touch is the forbidden fruit.
So what can we do?
Although there is no substitute for human touch there are some alternatives we can try. Anything that moves your skin will stimulate what would normally be administered by someone else, massage gives us the same kind of stimulation. Yoga, walking, jogging, riding a bike, hugging yourself and dancing as well as singing are also forms of touch.
Spend quality time with animals. If you have a cat or dog stroking them can act as an emotional substitute for human interaction for the time being.
Try to smile, laughter is one of the easiest ways to feel better as it releases endorphins
Get sentimental. photos, treasured gifts help us feel the presence of and connected to loved ones.
Boost your endorphins. Vanilla and lavender are scents linked with the production of endorphins. Dark chocolate and spicy foods can also release these endorphins.
Keep in touch. Technology makes it easier to maintain face to face communication. This can be a highly effective substitute for physical contact.
Although nothing can replace the importance of human contact the alternatives will help stave off that gnawing skin hunger and satisfy this basic human need.