The more time you spend on the internet – with email, googling, facebook, snapchat – the more depressed you get. Many studies have shown that. So why are we still so “wired” in?

The promise, the potential, of experiencing a sense of connection is often even more exciting and captivating than the actual connection! The reason behind that is built into our body and mind. Every time you anticipate a pleasure or almost any strong experience, your brain secretes a chemical called dopamine that gives you a quick buzz.

So every time you open a post, you may have a sense of “there’s something here – I wonder what it is” accompany by a quick rise in interest, followed often immediately not by satisfaction but by the desire for another buzz. Unfortunately dopamine does not give rise to a sense of satisfaction.  Because of its temporary nature, it only gives rise to the anticipation of another all-too-brief “hit” of excitement.

This is precisely the same thing that gives rise to most addictions. Gambling is a good example. You know you’re not likely to win, but there is that possibility and it keeps on being addicting because there is never any lasting satisfaction, never an experience into which you can rest, never any sustain, never nourishment at the soul level.

A healthier response for us as individuals and for our world is to cultivate again a taste for the actual, the real, as opposed to the virtual and unreal. The most healing and nourishing experiences are our actual relationships to the things, mother nature, and to the people around us.

This is why so many people are rediscovering the healthy power of touch. In the words of Margaret Atwood, “Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.”

With touch, whether you are petting your dog or cat, hugging a friend or your child, or practicing touch as a profession, you are doing something that triggers a very different response in your body and mind. The satisfaction that comes from healthy touch triggers the production of serotonin – the chemical that is connected not with anticipation, but with the actual experience of satisfaction.

This is why touch almost literally nourishing. One of the most compelling studies of touch was done with premature babies. Half of the babies in this study were given very brief massages and stretches during the day, half were not. The ones who were touched gained weight 50% faster than the non-touched group – on exactly the same diet!  Remarkably, they were discharged from the hospital on an average of six days earlier at a saving of $3,000 each.

So have no doubt – less time on-line and more time spent in healthy interactions with the world around you, noticing how satisfying the sense of touch is – this will help your have a more nourishing, happier, healthier, saner life.

Welcome to the tribe that celebrates and practices the healthy power of touch!


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