The Absolute Power of Physical Touch

When I was a functioning member of society, I used to call restaurants my home away from home. I damn near lived at the one I used to work at. All I needed was a cot to sleep on.

Fridays would roll around and those days could range from 12-16 hours depending on what kind of prep needed to be done. Fatigue, sweat, mild depression, and the ever-so-lovely smell of battered fried fish and hashbrowns clung to every inch of my body.

You’d think that smell could be bottled up into a best-selling cologne. But oh so wrong would you be.

I’d sometimes drive home at night in pure silence just to give my mind a break from all the noises and chaos.

Upon arriving home, I’d slide out of my car making moans and groans like a beaten old man. I’d drag my feet up the deck stairs, and fumble to unlock the door because I was so drained.

I’d finally get the door open and I’d always be greeted by Kacey. Every single time. She’d wrap her arms around me, and at that very moment, I was able to give a deep sigh of relief. My shoulders dropped, my eyes would close, my head would drop to her shoulder, and the entire day just melted away. 

Mind you, at this point, I smelled like a hot dumpster fire. I could have easily been considered a biological weapon that’s been banned internationally. 

But Kacey hugged me every time despite the hazardous smells. No mask or anything. The absolute power of a hug being able to erase such an exhausting, stressful day was profound. 

That’s the thing about physical touch. It has an incredible ability to make us feel present in the moment. It has the power to ground us, bring us back to reality, and remind us we’re loved. When Kacey hugged me, I wasn’t thinking about the stress of the day, the never-ending tasks, or the endless responsibilities that were on my plate.

I was simply present at that moment, feeling the warmth and comfort of her embrace. All while she held her breath the entire time.  

As powerful as a simple hug is, I can definitely recall a time when I was single and living alone when there were no hugs. There was no Kacey greeting me at the door. There was just me, myself, and I to deal with the shit sandwich that life might have gifted me that day. A complete void of physical touch in my life.

I’d come home almost in tears some days, truly thinking, “Fuck. I just need a hug.” There’s a term humans actually experience when we have that “I need a hug feeling” and being devoid of physical touch for a period of time. Touch deprivation. Who knew we actually needed physical touch? I certainly didn’t. Not until these moments alone.

I’m not gonna lie, I totally adopted a cat named Freya to help ease these withdrawals from the lack of physical touch I was experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, cat cuddles are *chef kisses*. She’s the cutest cat I’ve ever seen. Hearing her meowing in excitement when I got home and greeting me at the door was everything.

But definitely not on the same level as meeting your loved one at the door and experiencing that melt-inducing hug from them. Close though. 

With the impact that physical touch can have on my mental well-being alone, in my mind, it’s no wonder that when relationships are missing this essential “love language”, they crumble. My previous relationships certainly did. The power of physical touch to communicate love and care to those around us shouldn’t be understated. 

Through the Google blackhole that I fall into sometimes, I came across reasons why physical touch is so vital.

Simply put, physical touch can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can help to improve your overall mood. Oh, and touch can also improve our physical health, from reducing blood pressure to improving our immune system.

We are literally prescribed pills to alleviate these problems. It blows my mind how something as simple as a hug could be so medicinal. 

Physical touch is something that Kacey and I have found to be our driving “love language”. We both love love love physical touch. Did I say we love it? The beauty of touch being the conductor in our relationship is that we can say I love you to each other without actually saying I love you.

This doesn’t mean we don’t say I love you, and we’re also not groping each other like degenerates 24/7. 

It means that we use touch to compound upon the little things we do for each other throughout the day. Like little “bumps”, or reminders. Physical notes you could say. 

We always write our articles at the kitchen table together, always sitting across from each other, and drinking coffee that one of us had brewed that day. We’ll both get lost in our work for some time, but I’ll always extend my foot out under the table at some point and meet hers. It’s only a minor touch, but it causes us both to look up from our laptops, lock eyes, smile at each other, maybe give some air kisses, and then get back to work. 

This simple gesture says, “Hey, I’m thinking about you. Love you”

Physical touch is so wide-ranging, and you can put any of it into practice wherever your comfort levels lie. A simple foot touch when you’re eating, resting your knee against your partner’s knee while you two are sitting on the couch, or holding hands while walking through the store are powerful, yet simple ways to practice this love language. 

In a world that can often feel chaotic and overwhelming, it’s important to remember the power of physical touch. So the next time you’re feeling drained or stressed, hug your partner or someone you love. It just might be the thing that brings you back to the present moment and help melt away your entire day. 

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