According to the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School, touch appears to stimulate our bodies in specific ways. A welcomed touch, for example, can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, and can stimulate the hippocampus (an area of the brain that thought to be the center of emotion and memory), and drive the release hormones that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions. Research shows that the physical effects of touch are astounding, and in an article in the New Yorker last year, Maria Konnikova asserted that, “the more we learn about touch, the more we realize just how central it is in all aspects of our lives—cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioral—from womb into old age.”I know from my years as a classroom teacher and mother that touch is important to our well-being. As a teacher, I observed the difference in students who were relaxed when I placed my hand on their shoulder as I paused at their desk to answer a question and the ones who immediately tensed up. The students who were comfortable with touch were also more confident people, more willing to speak up, and more competent students. When my own children were teenagers, I insisted on a hug a day, even when they posited not to want or need a hug. When we hugged, I could feel their system soften and unwind. I learned to give good, long hugs to them, contributing to a more tranquil state for both of us.So, I wrote #98 on my love list so that I’d benefit from the physiological reaction to the touch of another human. Even now, I’ll take a break during the day to walk into my husband’s office and ask for a hug, boosting my feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which always has a calming effect.