Wellness Wednesday: The Healthy Touch

The following post was written by a guest contributor.

People in my family have a history of depression. Thankfully, none of us struggle with crippling bi-polar disorder or severe clinical depression, but every few years we tend to ruminate on negative thoughts and feelings and question our place and purpose. Personally, I think that these periods of rumination can be beneficial in helping us re-evaluate who we are and who we are striving to be. However, sometimes rumination becomes a rut and it gets difficult to shift my emotional outlook from contemplation to gratitude or genuine happiness.

For this reason, I am always looking for non-medical techniques to boost my mood. Recently, my mom bought me a book by Dr. Andrew Weil called Spontaneous Happiness. Among other techniques, this book discusses touch as a way of boosting oxytocin (a good hormone), lowering cortisol (a stress hormone), and increasing white blood cells (boosting your immune system) – ultimately improving your outlook and combating depression.

Healthy touch is any positive touch you recieve from your special someone, friends, or yourself. Healthy touch makes you feel safe, loved, trusted and cared for. Finding healthy touch at Bowdoin can be difficult. Many of us on campus can feel isolated from family, old friends, and trusted pets.  This week, some of us will be going on dates and getting busy in the sack, but others of us will be spending the night in the library or hanging out with good friends. So, what are some ways to get some healthy touch and boost your mood this Valentine’s week, regardless of your relationship status?

Some tips:

  1. Hug your friends more
  2. High five people
  3. Get a massage (submit your 1 <3 Health cards and be entered to win a gift certificate for an hour massage)
  4. Buy a loofa and enjoy your shower more
  5. Snuggle with whoever is willing
  6. Pretend you have a sprained ankle and ask for a piggy back ride across campus