How to get calm, relax, focus or meditate using… Touch?
I am fascinated with Touch. Visual technology and sound prevail these days, while Touch remains the most underrated out of our Five Senses. Pressures and stresses of today’s life make finding your own ways to relax, focus and achieve mindfulness a necessity. And I think that Touch is a perfect way to do it.
A BIT OF RESEARCH
“Touch is probably our most underrated sense,” says psychologist Martin Arvidsson of Stockholm University in Sweden. I can’t agree more! Think of all the time your eyes or ears are working hard behind that monitor or the headphones, while your fingers… wait — what are your fingers doing now?
In another study published in Scientific Reports, the researchers report that humans can perceive minuscule changes in surfaces — down to a microscopic 13 nano-meters, about the width of a notch on a human hair. This is a sensitivity which was not thought possible before!
So, Touch. To battle stress, achieve concentration and focus, we need to engage one of our senses to the fullest. Preferably a sense which is not consciously engaged at the very moment. To pull the attention focus from the problem. Of course, we touch things any number of times a minute. But try to think back — how many times have you acknowledged the surface you were touching. And when was the last time you’ve concentrated on the change of surfaces under your fingers?
Quite a while ago, right? Maybe a pleasant wooden trunk, you enjoyed passing your fingers over… Or a warm, uneven stone basking in the sunlight?
HOW IT WORKS
Using objects for relaxation or meditation is an ancient trick. So what is the twist here? With a bit of a practice, it is easy to feel what we call the Texture Flow. If we manage to feel the change between the contrasting textures under our fingers, and that change is repeated and rhythmical — then our attention is being pulled towards that change.
Syncing the Texture Flow with your breath, noticing the subtle changes in textures, counting the turns is already a simple mindfulness routine!
This technique is invaluable when we need to deal with distractions, otherwise unavoidable when we try to “simply relax”.
There is another twist to it. Being in contact with natural materials is essential for us. Sadly, most things we own today are made of plastic — think back, your phone, your pen, your keyboard, your Tube handle, your car controls, your TV remote… Can go on and on here. The Natural deficit disorder is real (stands for the lack of natural things in our lives)! And what if we tell you , that feeling grounded in simple natural surfaces on demand can go a long way here?
There were tests conducted that city kids preferred to play with a wooden stick than with elaborate toys. Touching wood, stones — it is within us. It brings calm, roots us in the moment and, well, opens us to better us.
Kudos to the sense of Touch!
And pictures below? Just a little idea of how to make all of the above work: