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The A to Z Guide to Life: K for Kinaesthetic. Monday February 15, 2016

What on Earth does 'Kinaesthetic' mean? Kinaesthesia is an awareness of Physical sensation. Especially to do with muscle movement; those who learn by leading with Kinaesthesia, learn best by 'hands-on' experience first – they learn by doing. This doesn't mean that they don't need to see and hear what they are learning – merely that they learn best by beginning with a tactile experience of what they want to learn. Don't show me that [Cntrl] + [S] will 'Save' my file, let me do this! Then I will know.

OK, I'm going to say something bold here. It is my 'belief' that many people feel depressed because they haven't had enough physical attention. I am in no way talking about sexual attention. I am talking about raw physical stimulation of the nervous system packaged within a safe emotional construct. Touched by someone or something you trust. 'Something' here means the cat or the dog. Cats and dogs know about this stuff!

My bold assertion is based upon the years of research that sit behind Transactional Analysis and similar disciplines. The root of all human need is to know one is significant through positive physical attention. A simple holding of hands is enough to say, "I love you, I accept you, I want to be with you, I love to be with you. I'm here for you."

I have been sick for a week. I just want to be held. I want to be stroked. If I had hair, I'd want it to be brushed gently. I don't want sound – I don't what to hear that you love me and care for me. I don't want to be looked at or to look. I want the simple warmth of another living being's presence… (you can be my hot water-bottle) and for that familiar presence to give me deliberate physical attention because they care.

So, where does this leave us? If you are not offended by this post, I seriously suggest you find a massage therapist whom you trust. Get in touch. Get touched. Get it as if your psychological health depended upon every positive stroke. In fact, Transactional Analysts call 'units of attention' by the name, 'Strokes'. Their research proves that premature babies who have positive physical attention, develop faster. Your heart, your brain, your very nervous system, your psyche, your health needs attention.

Stroke me! I promise you, I'll stroke you back. Hey, you scratch my back...

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:36am

Hello Lex, I thoroughly, 100% agree!! I ache for a massage, rarely have one but when I do I am nourished in my mind with the muscle benefit coming second for me. Yet again I love hearing how there are others like me! And it explains my learning... Are you any better? I had a virus last week and felt really awful, like I was never going to feel better. But change came and slowly it is receding. Must confess to adoring the line "if I had hair, I'd want it to be brushed gently". Thank you, I am better this week and you've lifted me. Love ratg X.

Leah Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:52am

Hi ratg, great to read a longer post from you- always cheers me up. Sorry you had a virus but glad you are feeling better. Take care Leah x

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:36am

Hi RATG... much better today, thank you, and I'm glad to hear you're better too. You lift me too, I hope you know that. Actually, one of the benefits of being a partial 'baldy' is that I do get stubble growing on my Solar Dome from time to time. When this happens, and on the phenomenally rare occasions when I get a head massage, the feeling is accentuated by the tiny bristles. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is even better than having a full head of hair! Have an amazing day, my friend. L€x

the room above the garage Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 11:58am

If ever there was a comment to make me feel amazing...thank you Leah :-) x

the room above the garage Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 11:59am

The Solar Dome, snorting out loud!! Brilliant description!

Leah Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:00am

I am a touchy feely person and crave hugs when I am low. I differ with you a bit because I don't feel that many people become depressed because they haven't had any enough physical attention. Maybe some, but it is so much more complex. I have had plenty of hugs and physical attention but it did not stop me being depressed at all.

Even though I am ahuugy person I am aware enough that some people dont like hugs and I respect their personal price.

Thanks lex for a thoughtful piece.

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:32am

Hi Leah, you know I rarely disagree with any posts or responses so just see this as a recalibration. I'm not saying that all people become depressed because of lack of physical attention. But I am most definitely asserting it is an important factor - and a useful therapy. One fascinating aspect of the complexity of this issue (as you recognised it as 'complex') is that 'touchy-feely' people quite often don't want to be touched when they are low! This is, therefore, a delicate balancing act. When to touch and when not to. There are signs, and we can learn them. The foundation, however, is that stimulation of the nervous system, at an appropriate level, is central to our mental and physical health. Over stimulation is also harmful. I seem to attract friends who are 'hyper-sensitive' - an interesting and important condition where too much sensory input is overwhelming. For me, I can say that it is often a delight to cut down on other senses and just focus on the healing power of touch. To close one's eyes and just tune in to touch is bliss - if that touch is from someone I trust. Hope this is helpful. L€x

Hopeful One Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 8:31am

Hi Lex- a fabulous blog. The importance of touch cannot be underestimated. I would agree with you that the lack of it could make a depression worse and most certainly it would encourage it .The complete lack of it may well precipitate depression in some cases as you claim. It is well accepted in medicine that newborn babies are immediately handed to their mother for this reason. Why should the same principle of touch not apply to adults? I believe it was the psychologist John Bowlby who developed a theory that incorporates this idea in his attachment theory.

Today's laugh?

Worried that her daughter might become pregnant, a mother consulted the family doctor .The doctor told her that teenagers today were very strong minded and any attempt to stop the girl would probably result in rebellion . He arranged for her daughter to be put on contraceptives talk to her and give her a box of condoms .Later that evening , as her daughter was preparing for a date , the mother told her what the doctor had advised and handed her a box of condoms .
The girl burst out laughing and reached over to hug her mother and said, “Oh! Mom ! You don't have to worry about that! I'm dating Susan!"

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 8:45am

Ha ha aha LOVE this. What a punchline, Hopeful One! I did laugh out loud... And thank you for your mention of John Bowlby and comments on touch. I really believe this is so important and will enjoy digging deeper. Have a sunny day and keep in touch!!! L€x

Anonymous Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 9:16am

Hi Lex. This brings to mind a line spoken by Saga in The Bridge, a Nordic Noir drama.. Saga is a police officer who is somewhere on the Autistic/ Aspergers spectrum. Her boss, whom she trusted and was her friend gave her a hug after asking her if she wanted one. When a colleague asked her about it later, she said it was perfectly safe and acceptable to be given a non erotic hug on occasions. I know real people who are not touchy feeley as Leah says. They do not like being hugged for whatever reason; this doesn't mean to say they don't like physical contact. I see what you are getting at Lex. As long as the person who is being touched and hugged , feels safe around that person, then fine, it's all good. A sensitive topic. Jul x

Brum Mum Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 10:16am

Lex, I completely and utterly agree. I am quite selective about who is allowed to touch me, but I am certain your theory works for me. I remember the first time I hugged my Mum (and that was the first time she let me) when I was at university. I hadn't realised then how much this positive affirmation was missing from my life. After years of being in a loveless marriage, I now realise how valuable my children's hugs are (and vice versa) but I have had to learn this. Something that seems so fundamentally basic was missing in my life and I am still grieving for that loss. But the saving grace is that I have discovered its value, whether through a wonderful massage, or just the gentle touch of my partner holding my hand.

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:10pm

Hi Brum Mum, it's almost as if there was a Cultural Conspiracy in the so many Countries to deprive many of us (particularly from certain generations) of the very thing we wanted the most. Understanding this pokes a hold in the dam. Let the flood of love burst through! It's not too late. We're ready... aren't we? Hugs. L€x

Holly Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 10:32am

I totally agree! My family isn't the hugging kind, and I crave so many hugs. To be snuggled up safely to someone that I love, is just the best feeling ever. I have heard of massage therapists being good for this craving of physical touch, but my problem is that since I was sexually abused as a child, I only trust certain people with touch. Otherwise, I feel uncomfortable and start to dissociate. It sucks craving the very thing that you either can't get or can't feel properly.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 1:42pm

I hope you have got help for the sexual abuse you had as a child, Holly. You should never have suffered this. No wonder you can trust only certain people with touch. But I love your words..To be snuggled up safely to someone that I love,.." it conjures up such warmth, contentment and bliss. Thank you for sharing this with us, your brave comment as a whole I mean. Lots of hugs from afar. Jul x

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:08pm

I'm with Jules, Holly. These terrible things should never happen to anyone. And I agree that you are brave and loving to share with us. You know we wish only the very best for you, and I know wonderful changes can occur when you meet the right people and get the right support. There are good people out there who will respect your trust - even if it takes a little longer. L€x

Lou Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 10:50am

Lex – you are talking a lot of sense! I get a lot of my “touch” from my much-loved rescue cat – who in turn needs a lot too. Makes the world of difference. She even jogs to come and see me when I have been out (sometimes!) and it really lifts me and makes me smile.

Sending you a virtual hug and hope you are feeling better soon.

danielle Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 2:10pm

aww i love cats lou and they can make us so happy :)

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:06pm

I can see the cat jogging! Wonderful vision in my mind. Penelope's cats often dash out to greet her return... then the female cat does her 'cute' act, rolling over to show off her submissive side! Cute! Thanks for the smile. L€x

Lou Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 7:31am

Delighted to know I (or at least my cat!) made you smile :)

sue Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 10:58am

Thankyou for your post. I am new to the world of mood disorders. My son 17yrs old might be ultra rapid cycling, in the middle of an episide. What I find interesting is I have 4 children and he is my third. Out of them all he had always been the touchy, feely, touchy one! And still is! He wanted a neck massage this morning !

Lex Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 9:38am

Hi Sue, I hope this message finds you well today... I think hugs are like silence - we all need a varying amount. Sounds like your 17 year old needs a lot more hugs! And as a lovely Mum, you can deliver. I hope you get the hugs you need too. L€x

Anna Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 12:36pm

Hi Lex,

I agree, physical contact is ultra important for well being. On a chemical level it releases serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, all feel-good chemicals that make us feel pleasure, reward and feel loved.

For some reason however, and I can only speak for myself, I don’t get this from a massage with a random masseur. I have extremely perfunctory massages when needed for a particular knotted or strained muscle I sometimes get from my work. Perhaps I’m missing out but for me, to get this pleasure I need the touch to be from someone meaningful. Not necessarily a love but even just a friend or family member.

Horses for courses. Thanks for the thought and the reminder that we all need to be touched!


Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:04pm

Hi Anna, I'm pretty sure we are all agreeing with you. The magic only happens when the contact is emotionally positively charged from someone we trust. We must sense their message of wishing well-being for us. Therapeutic massage is wonderful but it's for a different purpose. The kind of massage we seek is a way of connecting with those we trust. It's even warming my heart to think of times this has happened in the past! L€x

Anonymous Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 1:37pm

Hi again Lex. I have re read your blog and see that you have dealt with this subject very sensitively and made sure no -one misunderstands your words. Touch and physical contact can be complicated! Of course it shouldn't be. If it was, you would have written a simple straightforward blog saying, everyone go and get a massage or ask your partner to hug you more, words to that effect. The fact that I had to read it three times, to take in everything, says it all for me. Animals, even cows love to be can see them visibly relax. I guess that animals who have been badly treated, shun from physical contact at first with a new owner. I hope I'm not being too serious about your blog. That's just me today! Jul x

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:02pm

Hi Jules. It was a serious blog, so I relish the fact that you've taken it seriously. There is a simple message but I feel we've had to go through a journey together to make sense of its simplicity: get physical contact from those you trust, and give the same to them. Our physiology has its own understanding of this most fundamental of exchanges. I relish it, cherish it, and administer it!!! Hugs! L€x

danielle Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 2:07pm

Hi Lex it is true that a good hug always makes me feel better. I remember when I was young my mum or nana would give me big cuddles and hold me til i wasnt sad anymore. Usually over something rather trivial but always helped. I never realised it was a thing and never realised touch could be used as a therapy this way. thank you for enlightening us. My scores have plummeted today - after a lovely day yesterday competing and doing very well with my horse and achieving new highs for us both I am left today feeling very low and desolate and I just dont know why, worrying about things which my logical brain tells me a i dont need to but cannot clear them from my head and thinking the world would be better without the burden of me here. i think i do need a huge hug when i get home xxx

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:51pm

Hi Danielle, so glad you've found some comfort in the friendship we share with The Gardener. Your heart-sharing post struck a chord with me... "...the world would be better without the burden of me here." That's how so many of us feel from time to time and I understand that feeling. I hope you got that huge hug and are safely home. Much love, L€x

The Gardener Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 2:31pm

Just had a super cheerful crowd shunting furniture from one house to another - what friends! Poor Mr G having his usual moan - awful because he is 'out' of things, but not awful logically, because he does not want to be 'in' anything. Tried to dodge having the nuns to tea. Enough, today's blog, and touching. Our first son was born when I was 20. My ma useless for advice as she did not notice I was dying at 6 weeks, Dad over-ruled her and went for the authorities, panic. My ma-in-law arrived hot-foot to 'help'. Utterly dogmatic, she 'took over'. The guru when she had her sons was a New Zealander called Truby King? He advocated not picking a baby up when it cried, might make it manipulative! Our son had infantile colic - he needed the warmth and comfort of being close to Mum. I obeyed ma-in-law till it got too much - dreadful regime - I wonder how many of that generation, starved of love, packed off to boarding schools at 8 bear the scars to this day. No 2 had all the hugging he needed - for the next three, of course, along came Doctor Spock. For animals I've always what people saw as an 'uncanny' affinity, but never to be 'silly' over them. I calmed unruly horses, dogs, anybody's dog decided I was their best friend. A very odd thing - our cat - silly as a sack - but not much of a one for laps, is always with me, licking my face, when I am desperately sad. I think all one's defences are down, there is no agitated wanting to be up and doing - and the animal feels that it can take advantage of what it sees as peace. I said in a blog that one of our labradors received so many confidences and tears from teenage daughters it ought to have joined the Samaritans. Massage - wish you had not mentioned it. When I sell this house it will be first stop a good thalassa, to be petted and pampered and get my person tidy. Thanks Lex. And Danielle, well done - I think your horse would appreciate a lot of hugs.

danielle Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 2:39pm

thank you TG, once again your post and stories have lifted my mood a little please keep telling them xx

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:58pm

Dear Gardener... may Moodscope posts at least give you a verbal hug because you reciprocate with so many authentic and heart-moving posts. I feel like we are a part of your life through what you share so vividly. Obviously, we can only participate in a passive and distant way, but nevertheless we are emotionally engaged with your journey. You share so deeply and I thank you for this. L€x

Norman Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:04pm

TG hi! I suffered the same philosophy as a child apparently: I was left to cry because it would teach me not to get my own way. (My elder cousin told me this) She told her mother (my auntie) at the time who told her not to say anything. Add in the religious teachers afraid to "spare the rod," stir, pour into a mould and let set...

readerwriter Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 4:09pm

The complexity of touch. As I posted the other day my mothering didn't include physical affection. I crave that "stroking" especially when I'm down. Being a person, that's when I'm most prickly and hard to reach (emotionally I mean, not cos I haven't shaved) lean my head against the dog, bury my face in the cats fur ride a horse- groom it. All these contacts soothe me, root me, ground me. My hairdresser tried to chat. Now she knows I drift in a lovely state, silent, til she's done......

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:49pm

Hi ReaderWriter... would you share your hairdresser? For her to understand this preference for silence is a gift you clearly appreciate! I wish more people realised that silence is not a rejection but a sharing at another level. It truly can be golden. Hugs. L€x

Suzy Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 5:20pm

Crumbs! I can't believe a whole week has gone by since '"J"! I've intended to post a comment for that post ever since and now we're on K already. LOVED J for Joy. And absolutely and totally agree with this one too. Human contact and touch sure does keep us healthier.
Hope you feel more the ticket SOONLY Lexi.

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:46pm

Thanks Suzy, first day back to what feels like something near normal health! I know that we cannot all get the hugs that we may all desire, so I'd like to flag up Havening. This seems an interesting, physically-based therapy. Here's a link to some McKenna Magic! L€x

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 6:43pm

Dear Poster People... thanks for all your comments, observations and support today. I have had a day of intermittent access to the internet, so haven't been as responsive as I would like to have been... but am content that I feel this difficult area and my message has been understood as I had hoped. Sending hugs (safe ones without any hidden agendas) of the length, intensity and duration you would like! Of course, these are digital ones, but they still come from the heart! L€x

Debs Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 7:12pm

Thanks Lex for your wonderful blog ;-) I remember last year when I was in a particularly bad period, I took myself off on a health retreat. I expected to feel better but day by day my depression remained fixed. I then spoke to a lovely girl I'd met at the centre and she said 'why don't you take yourself off for a massage and then curl up in bed and watch a feel good film'? I did as she suggested and - because it was available - booked a tantric massage. It was all above board (:-)) but was extra sensitive somehow. I felt better that day than I had for ages and your blog today has reminded me of that time so thank you! I live my son and on the weekends/weeks he's with his dad I can feel my mental health decline; part of that I'm sure is the lack of hugs and close physical contact with another human being... He is home tomorrow and I can't wait to give him a thousand hugs... but maybe I'll be booking myself a massage too, just to give me that extra boost ;-) Much love (and hugs!) coming your way xxx

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 9:49pm

Great plan, Debs, great plan. Hugs reciprocated! L€x

Paul Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 8:30pm

Excellent blog today Lex
I'm surprised no one has mentioned a tickle. When playing with my grandchildren who love being hugged they also love being tickled. It's great to be tickled and be the tickler its infectious.
Keep up the good work Lex very interesting A to Z topics.

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 9:50pm

Thanks, Paul. Tickle is a very good reminder. It's positive physical attention, after all! L€x

Lex Mon, Feb 15th 2016 @ 9:48pm

I broadcast the message on Hope FM today as well, if you like audio:

Susanne Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 4:25am

Hi Lex this is my first time ever writing to someone I don't know,but seems to know me so well......your writing is beautiful and there's always something you say that resonates with me.Ive learnt in the last few years how simple and meaningful a hug can be, no words needed,just Prana(energy)as my Dad would say. Sometimes hugging is hard, especially when your hugging a porcupine(my son), but I'm a mother so I'll continue to get my hugs in and maybe, just maybe get a squeeze back......bliss! Thank you x

Lex Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 9:35am

Hi Susanne, thanks for writing and encouraging. Not all hugs are equal! I'm happy to invest hugs in porcupines (carefully, of course!) knowing that the Great Hugger will make sure those hugs will come back to through someone else. Be blissful x L€x

The librarian Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 8:59am

This is brilliant, Lex - thank you for putting into words how I've been feeling lately. Words can be so difficult to manage at times.

Lex Tue, Feb 16th 2016 @ 9:36am

You are so welcome, The Librarian... and that word holds such positive associations for me that it's like a verbal hug. L€x

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