Updated: Nov 21, 2020
We look away in disgust when we see people kissing in public but we can’t peel our eyes off the screen when we see the latest school shootings on the news. We give our children video games that teach them how to target and kill people by the masses and then we tell them not to cry in public.
And we wonder why the world is in such turmoil. We wonder why there is a growing mental health crisis in our midst.
Public displays of affection are acts of intimacy displayed in the view of others.
In the western world we are scorned for public displays of affection and told that the best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it at all. Other countries in the world have banned public displays of affection all together. We have created laws that make showing kindness and compassion criminal offences. Offenses that are punishable by fines, imprisonment, and even death.
How did we get here?
Research consistently shows that affection and physical touch flood the brain with hormones and neurotransmitters that produce feelings of happiness. Adrenaline. Dopamine. Endorphins. Norepinephrine. PDA is good for you. Physical touch works on the brain like a drug. It activates the areas of the brain that make you feel good. It has the same affect on the brain as snorting a huge amount of cocaine. Affection lowers levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Physical touch leads to better sleep patterns. It causes people to be less fearful and increases their alertness, vigilance, and memory.
So why are we banning PDA and prescribing everyone Percocet?
Why are we losing the war on drugs?
Studies show that newborns who are denied adequate physical affection can actually die as a result of it. This is called failure to thrive. Love and nurturing are vital human needs. Skin to skin contact between infants and their mothers is scientifically proven to benefit both the baby and the parent. Consistent emotional engagement with infants can speed up their physical development and recognition of self. This behavior is second nature and instinctive between a mother and her child.
As we grow older we are socially conditioned to suppress our emotions and sensor our affections towards others. WHY?
Lack of affection can prevent normal development in children and lead to behavioral, emotional, or social problems. This creates higher risk of illnesses and medical complications. It is linked to depression, obesity, and diabetes. Deprivation of affection distorts the brain's natural chemical processes.
Human beings literally need affection.
Suffocating your feelings creates confusion and a sense of rejection. The brain processes rejection the same way it processes physical pain. It triggers a biological response that signals “danger” and “survival instinct” hormones to flood the brain (cortisol; stress and aggression) and causes a depletion of happy hormones (dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin; love, joy, hope, and purpose). This causes the immune system to go into overdrive. It reduces self-esteem. It sabotages your sense of control and any feelings of having a meaningful existence. It leaves you vulnerable to the pitfalls of addiction and abuse.
Being publicly rejected or having your feelings not be reciprocated causes physical pain and suffering.
Since when did it become cool to act like you don’t care about anything? When we lack affection we become immune to the suffering of other people.
War, oppression, drug abuse, violence, turning a blind eye- those are real problems. Those are issues that show cause for imprisonment and punishment. Showing other people that you genuinely care about them is not something that should be objected to or opposed.
PDA is good for your brain. It’s good for your mental health.