Psychological Impact of ‘Touch’
Every time you pick up the phone a public announcement requests you to maintain 6 feet distance from another person while in public. For many, this might be irritating, not the fact that there is an announcement every time a call is made, but rather that we have to maintain this physical distance as a precautionary measure.
A lot of people are stuck in a different location away from their family or loved ones, or maybe even a roommate due to the lockdown this pandemic brought with it. Many want to run to their loved ones and give a warm hug, high five a friend or touch someone. The internet had viral videos of people trying to figure out different hacks to hold people, to feel people, and to touch people.
There are a hundred other problems because of this lockdown, then why this fuss over touch? Because touch amongst humans starts even before birth, and the first thing after birth is to have skin to skin contact. Psychologists reveal that physical touch for a child up to the age of 2 is very important from growth and development, and it increases the sense of warmth, security, and confidence in a child.
Studies reveal that a child should experience 9 different touches (hug, kiss, pat, holding hands, embrace, mending injuries, arms touching, etc) throughout the day. If a child doesn’t have access to these physical contact while growing up the child tends to become violent as they grow older. The touch transits into trust and not just that when a person experiences touch there is the secretion of the oxytocin hormone popularly known as the ‘love hormone’ which plays a major role in social bonding.
Lately, over the past few years, there has been a lot of buzz about safe touch and unsafe touch and schools had sessions regarding the same. The need for this was to empower the child to understand when in an uncomfortable situation to minimize abuse and increase reporting. Some argue that the child is too fragile to understand this concept and hence misunderstands the touch of the family as an unsafe touch. But that argument stays bleak because a child is taught to understand what kind is inappropriate.
It is because of the trauma a child goes through during abuse that the child doesn’t trust anyone and has issues about any form of touch.
When there is adequate human touch a person becomes much more empathetic than his counterparts who did not grow up in a situation like that. But today because of the pandemic and the lockdown, individuals are facing touch starvation as they experience little to no touch.
We look forward to a time when shaking hands, hugging people, and touching in itself is not a threat but gives the warmth that it used to hold.
At Mitti Ke Rang, we started with a COVID-19 community support fundraising, as an emergency response to provide a safety net to families. This will help them survive in the lockdown period. We aim to directly support these families by providing a minimum wage, through transferring the same into their accounts or partner with local NGO, Organisation, Fellow, or a Volunteer and support them with groceries.
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