I decided to drive to work today, and I got an opportunity to listen to NPR. The story was on human connections and the importance of touch. Scientists have discovered that touch, whether it be a hug or a pat on the back, can have a lot of positive affects on your biology, like releasing Oxytocin, “a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding”.
I found this particularly interesting because sometimes all someone needs is a good hug to make them feel better, and clearly there is a biological foundation for this feeling/reaction. It is also fascinating given the gendered nature of touch. Hugging and other emotional aspects of touch are perceived as being a feminine activity or attribute, but it seems that everyone can benefit from a good pat on the back (literally). So, I urge everyone to break down some gender norms, and the next time you see someone stressed, sad, or maybe even having a great day, give them a well placed pat on the back (or a hug if they are into that kind of thing).