When stress goes up, self care goes down. One way to implement self-care and self soothe (instead of stress eat) in stressful times is through healing touch. Touch can help you to calm, reduce your heart rate and decrease anxiety.
As our world gets consumed by iPhones, social media, texting and e-mailing, it’s not uncommon to go a whole day without actually touching someone or being touched. Like rotary phones or Walkmans, it’s easy to wonder if touch will become obsolete in our lives, too.
Donna Gates in her blog on healing touch, BodyEcology, reports on how regular touch establishes your mind-body connection and has been proven to:
- Decrease anxiety
- Increase the number of white blood cells
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase endorphin levels (your feel-good hormones)
- Help you sleep better
For many of us touch is elusive, but I purport that including kind and purposeful soothing touch in your day gives you some of the benefits of being touched by someone else.
Ideas that I use for soothing self touch (one person):
- Buy a back scratcher
- Apply lotion to your arms or legs in long soothing strokes
- Practice stretches that use one part of your body to help another part stretch
- Pet your dog. No doubt you’ve noticed you feel less tense when you pet an animal. It’s good for them and you!
Other ways that Donna recommends incorporating soothing touch into your day (two people):
- Offer to give a friend a back rub – then switch
- Borrow a custom from Europe and kiss people hello. If that is too intimate, give hugs instead.
- Pat people on the back or arm as gentle reassurance
- Schedule regular therapeutic full-body massage. Something is better than nothing, so even 15 or 30 minutes makes a difference.
- Get foot massages or foot reflexology – these forms of healing touch allow your energy to move from your head into your abdomen, which is your “energy powerhouse”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a hug – your body and your mind both need it!
Do you notice the healing benefits of touch?