Reach Out and Touch Somebody
My youngest, Daniel, could not fall asleep last night. He came into the living room and sat with us well after bedtime. Then thirty minutes later he reappeared at our bedroom door. I could tell it was one of those rare nights where he needed to be hugged while he fell asleep. He snuggled up next to me and I put my arm around him. Within minutes, he was sound asleep.
Sometimes we just need a hug. Or a snuggle. A hand to hold. A body to lean against. Another person’s presence. During the Covid quarantine, so many people said that physical contact with others is what they missed the most.
Gary Chapman, PhD, wrote a book entitled, the Five Love Languages. He shared his theory that there are five ways we as humans give and receive love: 1. Acts of Service, 2. Words of Affirmation, 3. Gifts, 4. Quality Time, and 5. Physical Touch. Over the years, I’ve applied his theory to my relationships, beginning with my family. Once I discover how one of my family members best responds, I try to include that way of interaction on a regular basis.
For my youngest, he is a major physical touch person. He reaches out and touches my arm in the car or holds my hand just because. He wants hugs all the time, even to the point of driving me a little nutty. But I honestly feel like that is not just something he wants, but rather something he needs.
In an article on Healthline.com entitled, What Are the Benefits of Hugging?, Virginia Satir, a family therapist states, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” While that seems like a lot of hugs, the article shares that when we hug another person our body creates oxytocin, which is a chemical that aids in happiness and helps lower stress levels. Hugs are mentally and emotionally good for us and we all need them!
As I’m sitting in bed this morning, typing this column, my youngest is still in bed beside me, with his arm looped through mine, sound asleep. Sometimes we just need the comfort of another person. We need to know we are loved. Valued. Safe.
Have you hugged somebody today? Maybe it’s time to reach out and touch somebody and let them know you care.