Click “Hug” if You Agree

Can you believe Facebook is turning ten today? What started out as the great college connector has morphed into a time capsule of long lost friendships, baby’s firsts, “I do’s” and quite a few “I wish I didn’t” moments. It’s the world’s greatest connector yet at the end of the day many of us still feel disconnected. Depression and mental illness is diagnosed more than ever before; and how many times a day do you say, or hear someone say: “I’m so busy.”

I'm a Chipper Mom

The good news though is that carving out time isn’t the goal anymore, it’s maximizing the time you have when you are together. And research clearly shows physical contact plays a big part in emotional health, revealing: touch helps in the release of Oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust; while also reducing the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. Hmmmm. Don’t most children thrive when they feel safe? And according to all the commercials, it seems like we all want to reduce the Cortisol.

Chipper Family Hugging

“It is the first language we learn,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” (Norton, 2009), and remains, he said, “our richest means of emotional expression throughout life” … physical contact, that is. From sunup to sundown, here are a few Chipper moments to help you connect:

1. Rise and Shine: Offer a gentle touch on the back or wipe the hair from your child’s face along with a quite “good morning,” a hum of your favorite song, and light discussion of what is happening that day. A “soft start” is a pleasant way to get the day rolling and the moment will probably make you feel better as well.

2. High Fives and Respect: Incorporate this within the home, at work, or on the field. Studies show people performed better in the office when they were given a pat on the back and according to research done by Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami it can also boost your immune system.

3. Dancing check-to-cheek: There is nothing better than hitting pause at the end of the day then pressing “play.” Seriously, holding hands, up in your arms, cheek-to-cheek get the music going and channel Fred and Ginger with an old fashioned song and a moment to just physically connect. Grab your spouse, your partner and role model. Open your arms and welcome everyone in. Here’s a Chipper song to get you going.

The opportunity to connect is always there and what we need to embrace is the reality that just a few minutes can fuel your heart and keep the emotional engine running on positive. Click “like” if you agree but don’t you wish in celebration of their birthday, Facebook would launch a “hug” button? 🙂