Touch and Connection
Being « in touch » with each other and our movement experiences
Scientists have shown that the amount of body contact (touch) plays a vital role in people's mental and physical development as infants and in our happiness as adults.
Touching creates a more intimate contact with objects or people than does vision. Touch and connection heightens our emotions which reflects on behaviours and moods. The relationship between touch and well-being is far more than skin deep.
The sense of touch is children’s first teacher, creating connections with the world around them leading to connections within them. Children who touch and are touched safely are known to thrive better in their adult years.
Touching and connecting is not part of our culture. We do not experience enough the intangibles of connecting with another human being, not feeling the tremendous physical, emotional and mental benefits that take place in this non-verbal communication. Yet, more than 70% of human communication is non-verbal, through body, mind, emotions.
Touch elicit life giving hormones as well as chemical responses in the body. But most importantly, these physical reactions spiral positively to the heart and emotions of a human being, where decision-making takes place.
The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is the rational, the intellectual, the "wordy" brain, very powerful brain able to convince oneself of almost anything. This part of the brain is often used to categorize, label and identify movements. The "feel" of the movement is often absent. The limbic brain, the brain of emotions, is not where we find the words, but the "feel" the "gut" sensibility that is mostly responsible for behaviour. Touching that part of ourselves where emotions lie is how we change behaviors.
By providing activities that reach to the "feel" of the body, we then understand the melody of movements, the undulations, and this is where authentic movement experiences occur. The outer movement spirals into inner movement where people are touched the most and where they become aware of their sensations, all of which lead to becoming better movers and better beings.
Children are not exposed in schools to much touch and connection experiences, mostly due to discomfort of human closeness and fears of inappropriate touching. However, touching can be a very positive experience if it is felt as appropriate, not imposing intimacy that would not be desired or used to establish a position of power.
Partner and group activities are beneficial for learning about oneself, learning concepts as well as being part of a community, for example breathing together, mirroring each other’s movements. When people touch and connect, they can develop compassion and trust, enhance communication skills (verbal/ non-verbal), teach on how to touch and be touched safely. It also provides immediate feedback as each person experiences a different physical feeling to the movement and an emotional feeling of connection.
Overwhelming feedback from children and adults experiencing touch and connection in a playful and creative manner translate into an increase in non-verbal and verbal communication, awakening to new sensations, deeper exploration, self-reliance for learning and feeling, and SMILES.
Adult prescription on touch and connection:
See children as teachers
Believe in self-hugs
Observe children’s receptivity to the experience of connection
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