Why? When you stimulate the pressure receptors in the skin, you lower stress hormones in both the person being touched and the one touching. Touch can provide a slew of benefits, including mitigating pain, better sleep, reduced irritability, increased confidence, and a greater connection between touchers. Who doesn't love Win/Win?
How to Play:
- Every time you interact with someone during the day, determine if there is an appropriate way to extend a touch. An easy example is recognizing that a handshake is almost always acceptable upon an introduction to someone, but a tight bear hug may not be acceptable. Kissing your beloved's nose may be perfectly welcome in your home, but in their workplace may not be as well received. Touching is great, but context is imperative.
- Once you determine that a touch is appropriate, take steps to make it happen. Walk out from behind your desk to shake hands with a new employee walking past your door; pat your colleague's shoulder as he greets you and stands next to you in the elevator. Hug your teenage daughter despite the fact that she is bemoaning how strict you are. And of course, if you have a romantic partner, take special care to touch them warmly, affectionately and deliberately at your first opportunity of the day. If you are going to kiss them good morning, hold their face in your hands for extra bonus points and touch sensations. If you are going to hug them, hold it for a few extra seconds so that it they acknowledge it and hug back rather than tolerate it before rushing back to their routine. Rub their neck for a few minutes, not a few seconds. Make sure that your touch is meaningful. Don't allow them the chance to "miss" or minimize your touch by reaching out casually, in passing, or while they are still asleep.
- If you don't routinely interact with three people a day, go places where you will find others. It can be the grocery store where you shake a clerk's hand for helping you find something. It can be to meet a friend that you can hug as a greeting. You can take a walk and introduce yourself to someone walking a cute dog; then you can shake the owner's hand and extra bonus points come to you because you can pet the puppy too. The point is, you shouldn't spend too many days without seeing at least three people. If you are, this game should help you change things and hopefully at the end of a week you will realize that life is brighter when you do connect with others even briefly.
- Once you have touched three people a day, give yourself bonus points for all the other touches you encourage each day. Make a list, in your head or on paper as you prefer, of who you touch daily. At the end of the week, that list should be tangible evidence of a week well spent and goodwill generated.
Who wins? You and everyone you touched.
WARNING: This game may be addicting and lead to a lifetime habit of positively influencing people through touch.