One of the most basic human needs is that of connection with others. This need is as important as the needs for food, air, water, and shelter. We are hardwired to connect with others to the degree that the the reward center of the brain lights up at the mere presence of another human in the room, at the holding of a hand, at the presence of a cared for other. They don’t have to be anywhere near us because even thinking about the Other creates the same response and becomes addicting.
Our brains, our humanity, seek out connections with others for reasons far beyond procreation.
Our bodies require human touch in order to thrive. We have less disease and greater immunity when we have healthy physical touch and connection. We have better sleep, better mental health, and better physical health when we have physical human connection, and I’m not just talking about intimate connection. Conversely, without physical connection, we have low relationship satisfaction, a propensity to avoid significant relational attachments, anxiety, stress, and depression.
In fact, even in patients who are no longer able to sense physical touch, their insula, a part of the brain that processes emotions, will light up under an MRI when their body is touched and they cannot see it happening.
It is essential for human beings to have meaningful connections with others, both physical and emotional.
If you are missing the kind of meaningful connection in your everyday relationships that leave you feeling something other than the warmth and glow of fulfillment and happiness, if you are lacking that essential physical touch or the emotional affection that lights up your reward center like a Christmas tree, make a change.
You need it. Body, heart, mind, and soul, you need connection.