When you think about the concept of touch, what comes to mind?
I find that many of us quickly resort to imagining our own limits with touch, or when touch goes wrong and feels too taboo to feel comfortable with allowing in or talking about. Some of us have families who taught us to be extremely touch-forward (think of the family member who needs to hug every. single. person. at a cookout before leaving) or touch-resistant (the Irish goodbye person). Depending on where you fall and how your experiences with touch have been since growing up, you may discover where your comfort level with touch came from.
I want to focus more today on the therapeutic aspect of touch and how meaningful that safe, positive touch can be.
What is the act of touching yourself feel like for you? This can be sexually, doing your skincare routine, or simply hugging yourself or running your fingers through your own hair. There are many ways to explore the act of touch with yourself in small, safe ways that can assist you in understanding what feels right for you. A way to explore this would be to slow your skincare or hygiene routine down. You could also give yourself a massage or run your hands along your own body. Take extra time to lightly touch and run your fingertips along your face and/or body and see how your body responds. Try different pressures and fine-tune the details as well. For me personally, I love to run my fingertips or nails lightly along my arms and legs to create those little *tingles* that feel so relaxing and comforting. Appreciate your features and allow yourself the time and experience in saying yes to safe touch because you are in charge. Knowing what you like and dislike with touch on your own can help you to coach others in how to touch you in ways that feel safe and positive.
Touch with Others
Now that you know more about where you like to be touched and what works for you personally, you can now talk freely with others close to you about ways that touch works for you and can connect you with others. Safe touch with others in a connecting, secure way can be particularly healing for us and help us to trust that touch can feel right. A 5-10 second hug can do wonders in filling us with a pleasure boost and burst of feel-good properties created within our own body. Practice this safely with those you feel trusting of. Not ready for hugs, try holding hands or playing with one another’s hair. Give a massage or paint a friend’s nails. There are so many options that can feel like neutral, realistic ways to let touch in and see the direct impact the behavior has on how you feel overall.
Touch with Our World
I wanted to include the aspect of touching the environment because touch can be so grounding and healing for us, and that requires no contact with others and can be done fully on your own terms. Our grounding blog goes more in depth on ways to connect with the world through touch and sensation. I love this idea because it can create a skillset for you to access on your own of natural ways that help get you out of your head and more present and intentional in your day to day experiences.