In more recent years it seems like our society has begun to shy away from physical contact. Gone are the days of constant touching and hugging, with most of us instead choosing to keep to ourselves. According to experts in the field many of us are currently “contact starved” in our current practices. However, there are certain exclusive benefits that accompany light contact, so becoming more open to touch can yield some notable improvements.
It’s worth mentioning that I used to be the type who tried to avoid most physical contact. Due to previous psychological troubles it always made me very uncomfortable, especially when I felt that it was unwarranted. That being said, I’ve found that changing my ways to be more physical has yielded some amazing results.
I’ve learned that the entire process of touch is more complex than most of us think. The benefits listed below can be augmented by following a few practices; not only should you add more contact to your life, but you should also strive to appreciate the physical contact that you do get. If you really take the time to appreciate the moment next time you hug somebody I guarantee that you’ll get a lot more out of it than previously.

1: It Improves Your Mood
One of the most prominent advantages of physical contact is that it greatly increase your mood. A friendly hug or light touch pumps up the body’s release of many hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is the chemical that controls your brain’s pleasure and reward centers; that means that it’s the primary hormone for keeping you feeling happy. Likewise, serotonin also directly contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being.
All it takes is a small touch to trigger these hormone releases. Therefore, making an effort to incorporate more physical contact throughout your whole day can guarantee that your mood will be noticeably better than before.

2: It Helps You Feel Connected
Another hormone dispensed during contact is oxytocin. As we discussed in our article on feelings of longing, oxytocin is a huge chemical in relationships because it helps cultivate attachment between two people. This is naturally released throughout the course of a relationship, but even if you’re single you can still reap the benefits by employing touch to your advantage.
A 1997 study by the Touch Research Institute in Miami found that students who were given a reassuring touch on the back or arm from a teacher volunteered in class twice as often as others. On a personal note, the first time I went to church (at age 18) I received a touch on the shoulder from an elderly woman at the service. I still recall that I’ve never felt more welcome in an unfamiliar place than that particular moment.
This principle applies to all facets of life. A brief, reassuring touch can make new employees feel more welcome at an unfamiliar job. Contact can also help make you seem more sincere when apologizing for a mistake. It can help you forge stronger friendships more quickly and mature existing relationships better as well. Overall oxytocin is an incredibly powerful chemical, and part of that power can be yours by engaging in more physical contact.

3: It Reduces Stress
Hormones, hormones, hormones! Two not-so-pleasant chemicals you usually have patrolling through your body are cortisol and epinephrine. These are considered ‘stress hormones’ for a semi-obvious reason; they - along with a few other troublemakers - effectively account for all of the stress in your life. As I’m sure you already know, too much stress can have a lot of nasty repercussions (we actually put together a list here for your convenience!)
However, there is hope to escape from the burdens of stress! Physical contact doesn’t increase these levels at all, but quite the opposite; research has shown light touching will actually decrease the levels of stress hormones in your body. This in turn will have you feeling less stressed, removing all of those nasty stress induced side-effects from your life.

4: It Lowes Blood Pressure
Concerned about blood pressure and heart health? Touching can help there too! Research done by the University of North Carolina found that women who hugged their spouses or partners each day had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not. The same principle applies to everyone; a few hugs can do wonders for keeping you well within the blood pressure safe zone. What’s more, lower blood pressure greatly reduces the risk of heart attack and heart disease in the long run.

5: It Makes You Appear More Open
As detailed in our article about flirting, it’s practically impossible to make a strong, charming impression on somebody of the opposite gender without engaging in physical contact. The same concept applies with everyone in your life; touching helps solidify social bonds in multiple ways (as detailed above), and the process subsequently makes you appear much more friendly and open to those around you.
Granted, there are boundaries to keep in mind. In our current privacy-based society many people view contact as inappropriate or creepy when not employed correctly. This is troublesome, but it’s a problem that can be avoided with proper execution. The biggest thing to remember is to make contact seem natural (because, frankly, nature intended it to be that way). Try not to seem overly deliberate or nervous, since that might make the gesture seem insincere and thus inappropriate.
Instead, seek to make contact in a way that fits the interaction. I always aim to do it in such a way that the other person doesn’t consciously notice; that means combining your words, body language, and touch so that the whole packaged deal seems completely normal.

Author's Bio: 

Dakota is the founder of, a website created to help visitors unlock their true potential and become more well-rounded in all aspects of life. When not writing or working on improving himself he spends his time making silly faces, creating merriment, and otherwise frolicking.