Close to you…

pigeons cuddled up

I wander into the kitchen… the world is silent except for the little grunting noises Ani makes as I cuddle her good morning. I don’t speak dog fluently, but I have a feeling these short, low grunts are an expression of affection; you only ever hear them during cuddles and that is how we start our day, the small dog and I.

As the kettle boils I think about the number of people who are, of necessity, home alone this Christmas and New Year, banned from cuddles, separated from their loved ones by regulations and, ironically, a desire to protect their health. When cuddles are good for health. A twenty-second cuddle, I remember reading, does you the world of good on so many levels. I couldn’t recall all the science behind it, but I was prepared to agree unquestioningly that cuddles are good for you. Just having someone close enough to open their arms to you, someone you trust enough to be able to hug back… that shows you have affection in your life and that has to be a good thing. Even when the arms are paws.

Cuddling is instinctive in many situations, from the moment a mother holds her newborn child to her heart it becomes a gesture of warmth and comfort. We cry on friends’ shoulders, reach out to hug each other for sheer joy, and it is one of the simplest and most eloquent expressions of friendship, empathy and love.

I don’t need the research to back up the logic of this, but I look it up anyway. Yep, cuddling affects oxytocin and cortisol levels… the bonding hormone and stress marker. And apparently, cuddles have even wider health benefits for women than they do for men, potentially protecting heart health on a physical level and having a positive effect on blood pressure. That explains a lot… Women tend to be more tactile than men and, as an advocate of listening to what your body is telling you, perhaps it is a response to something deeper than a romantic longing for closeness.

I wonder if dog cuddles count scientifically? I know they do, of course, but wonder if the research has extended yet to include pets. The work done with MRI scans show dogs have complex emotions close to our own, not that any dog-person needs to be told that. I tap a quick query into the search bar; sure enough talking to pets also reduces stress levels. So at least now I have a scientifically based excuse.

The coffee kicks in and I make a mental link with the research done into the negative health implications of loneliness. (If you don’t click on any of the other links, this one is worth the read.) The results are stark and shocking in their reflection of how society is moving away from closeness to aloneness. Being on your own can be wonderful, chosen solitude can be a delight… but serious loneliness isn’t. It is appalling…

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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18 Responses to Close to you…

  1. As covidity drones on and on interminably I feel sad for those in nursing homes and senior apts… they experience a severe lack of physical affection.. no one to hug them .. since what, February? That’s a long long time without hugs 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth and commented:
    I think through this entire quarantine I was MOST afraid of having to go to the hospital and die alone. I think a lot of people are afraid to be sick, afraid to see a doctor, afraid of going to a hospital. Hospitals have never been great places to spend time, but now — alone — they are really terrifying.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I adore your posts Sue. ❣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan Sikes says:

    The very best cuddles I get are from my grandchildren and they renew my spirit. This is a beautiful post, Sue. Sending virtual hugs to you!

    Like

  5. Jim Borden says:

    touch is an important part of our physical, social, and mental health. And I think there has been a good deal of research on the negative effects of loneliness on one’s health…

    Like

  6. CarolCooks2 says:

    A sad state of affairs and I am not sure how much longer this will go on or how quickly people will feel safe enough to give someone a cuddle again xx

    Like

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