Society has found it fit to change a lot of things. One of these things is its view on physical touch. Apparently, hugging and patting are not fine anymore, and it could actually get you into trouble.
While it's understandable that some personal boundaries should exist with regard to who we can and cannot hug, the problem is that this standoffish behavior has also found its way into romantic relationships. Families and friends are also not as comfortable hugging and giving each other a pat on the back.
People are all about keeping a safe distance today, and this, scientists say, is bad for our mental health. People are slowly forgetting how important physical touch is, and we are paying for this mistake with our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Physical touch is not just important for its own sake, but also for the sake of our emotional wellbeing. As it turns out, without physical touch, we can easily get depressed, anxious, and even feel isolated. Cases of people getting chronically depressed, feeling isolated from the rest of the world, and getting overly anxious are far too common today.
And the benefits of touching are not just evident with hugs and cuddles – a pat on the back is enough to give someone these great benefits. In a study done by UK's University College London, gentle physical touches improve a sense of social inclusion.
This has actually been witnessed in real life. When Princess Diana shook the hands of an AIDS patient, it was the first such gesture from a prominent person, and it helped reduce the stigma against people suffering from this illness.
Cautions Against Physical Touch
There have been debates about the need to respect other people's boundaries and the importance of consent. However, the discussion has been taken too far. Today, doctors are afraid that giving a comforting hug to a distressed patient could be considered a problem.
People are even afraid to pick up a stranger's child when they fall and get hurt, and teachers are being told to tell children to bandage themselves after falling.
So, touch has become evil, and even the most innocent and necessary forms of it could make some people react in the most unexpected of ways.
We Need Companionship, And Badly
People don't realize that they are missing out on a lot of human affection by avoiding touch. That is why cuddling has now become a profession, and people in need of some comfort can hire these professionals to hug and cuddle them.
Science is even being used to help resolve this problem, with robots that are being used to offer the physical touch that people cannot give each other freely. An example is the Tranquility Chair, a Japanese innovation with soft arms that wraps around the person sitting on it.
So yea, things are getting out of hand. In an effort to make the world safer and more comfortable, we have made it cold and more uncomfortable.
And so today, our mental health is at risk because the emotional and psychological benefits that physical touch offers are increasingly beyond reach.