Monday, September 20, 2010
Random acts of kindness and the power of touch
“Too often we underestimate the power of a 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 ~
This morning there was a fascinating feature on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition - “Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch,” by Michelle Trudeau.
The three minute/35 second recorded segment (with accompanying text) covers what social scientists have known for years; human beings experience less stress and thrive from the power of simple human-to-human touch, and it’s not all psychological.
Be it a hug, holding hands, a massage or even a pat on the back, the slightest pressure on skin, which is the body’s largest organ, activates Pacinian corpuscles ( a mechanoreceptor) that helps spread feel-good nerve impulses to multiple organs, including the heart, and the body responds by lowering blood pressure.
Touching also prompts the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, and the release of the neurochemical, oxytocin, which promotes feelings of trust, bonding and devotion.
Below is a video that demonstrates the power of touch, as students from the University of Miami take over the campus and offer “Free Hugs” to all. As you will see, everyone who is hugged breaks out in a smile, so there is definitely something good going on.
IMHO, hugs are a great way to start the week, and you’ll probably be humming the John Lennon/Paul McCartney standard from the video, “All You Need is Love,” long after this clip has ended.
During these troubled times, dominated with major stress for many, just reach out and touch someone; you’ll both feel good.