As I walked down the street a few days ago I heard someone shout behind me. I turned to find a white haired lady in her 70's running up to me to ask the time. I politely told her and then asked how she was, looking to see if she recognised me.
Suddenly her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, hello you are my smiley princess I know you don't I."
I smiled and said, "Yes," and asked her how life was. She shrugged her shoulders "I'm not allowed to speak to anyone, I'm not allowed to do anything", as tears formed in her eyes she flung her arms around me and hugged me tight and I held her close to me.
It was well over a minute that we stood there on the pavement, her holding me so tight as though she thought I might evaporate into thin air. When she finally let go, her eyes were brighter and she said, "Thank you, my carers are nice enough, but I don't get what I need" and she turned around and headed off home.
This lady has dementia, I only know what she tells me and do not know the whole story. Her husband died many years ago and now she lives on her own. Carers come in every other day. Her sons live miles away and from a neighbour, I gather they see her every few months, but phone on a regular basis.
I've given her a hug and cuddle in the past, when I've found her crying on the street. She holds onto me like a child, and I can see how much she needs physical contact.
I've seen the same with an old man in the village who lost his wife some time ago, though I'm unsure where he lives. I remind him of his wife and he always gets quite emotional when I see him.
Now I don't dish out hugs and cuddles at random. I only hug, kiss and cuddle people I know, but both of these I felt it was the right thing to do and when I said, "Would you like a hug" they both nodded enthusiastically.
We forget that as humans we have a real need for physical contact. Not in a sexual way, but just a touch, a hug, holding a hand, skin on skin.
Yet, we touch each other less now than before. It's difficult, what is appropriate and what isn't, and the not touching just due to lack of time and our own complacency.
Sometimes it's the lack of physical contact that can bring about loneliness, depression etc. And research conducted at prisons show that prisoners in long term isolation find it's the lack of physical contact that is the hardest thing.
Yet we neglect it.
How many of you feel dissatisfied with a relationship, your partner, your family, your friends. Perhaps you feel alone and isolated and can't put your finger on what is wrong. We can all be in houses full of people, see people in work or out and about each day and have no physical contact. We can all sit in our living rooms everyone on a separate device, and even though you may talk, do you touch?
When you kiss your partner good night is it a peck on the lips, a peck on the cheek? Has it become more like kissing your granny than your partner.
When did you last allow someone to truly embrace you? Not the awkward hug but a true connection via touch.
When did you last cuddle that relative with ill health, or did you just wave goodbye?
We need physical contact. Give your children a cuddle every night so they know they are connected. Do it in your own way.
Before bed stop and find a quiet place to kiss and hold your partner. And I mean kiss. A recent study determined that a passionate kiss needs to last at least 10 seconds, Ideally longer. When did you last kiss your partner like this. Try it now. Even tell them, I did this with my husband and initially I told him and we'd both count and then burst out laughing, but now its more natural and spontaneous and we hold our kiss, every night and I can tell you its made a dramatic different to our relationship.
Physical contact is so important, and we need to make it as high a priority as what we eat, we drink or how we look after our minds and bodies.
What will you do to get the physical contact you need in your life? How will you ask for what you need?
We used to do so many pursuits that brought about physical contact, such as dancing (proper dancing), walking hand in hand, etc. So even when we were being "proper" there was still physical contact.
If you are single, your physical contact needs may be met via hugs from friends, or cuddling the cat. Perhaps you might want to start salsa classes so you get physical contact in a safe way.
Find the physical contact for you and find that something that may be missing in your life.
aka The Magical Mojo Coach
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