Sunday, May 3, 2009

That human touch...

I firmly believe that we Americans are amongst the most touch-starved societies in the world.  It's not all our fault, it's just somehow become the norm these days.  Touch someone too much and they think you're weird.  Touch someone at work and they might take it the wrong way and report you for sexual harassment.  The fact that the phrase PDA (public displays of affection) is in existence is a clear indication of this fear around intimacy.

Check out these stats I found:

There are generally Two kinds of cultures classified as High Touch and Low Touch. Countries like France, Italy, and Greece are High Touch; New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and, yes, the U.S.A are Low Touch.  What's the difference. Well check this out.
One study showed a stark contrast between cultures by noting the number of touches exchanged by pairs of people sitting in coffee shops around the world: 
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, people touched 180 times an hour
in Paris, France, 110 times an hour; 
in Gainesville, Florida, 2 times per hour; and 
in London, England, they never touched
On a pre-school playground watching children they found 
Affectionate Touching -         Paris - 23% of the time
                                         Miami - 3% of the time
Aggressive Touching             Paris - 1% of the time
                                         Miami - 37% of the time
Now, who invaded Iraq?  Was it France or was it the US and Britain? 

Perhaps it was our upbringing, how or if our parents were affectionate with us.  Or perhaps it was a traumatic experience that closed us off forever.  Whatever the case may be, over time, we will find ourselves seeking nourishment elsewhere, and often in more toxic forms.  This is when people turn to anti-depressants, alcohol, cocaine, cigarettes, junk food...They need that high, that euphoric feeling when the endorphins and dopamine are shooting throughout the body.  

I say, give someone a hug already!  Go get a massage, or ask someone close to you for one.  It's amazing what a little human touch can do. 

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