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Tugging at the ears helps distract the mind from emotional stress.

Tugging at the ears helps distract the mind from emotional stress.

“Auto contact” is a term used to describe any gesture such as stroking the beard, rubbing the hands, tugging the ear, massaging the throat, pulling the fingers, rubbing the back of the neck and so forth, which is meant to sooth the body and create comfort. These gestures are also used to eliminate internal tensions and provide reassurance. It is believed that these mannerisms stem from childhood sources when our parents would comfort us with touch. Social touching has been shown to increase oxytocin which is a natural chemical messenger released by the brain. Oxytocin also helps in reducing anxiety, and creates feelings of contentment, calmness and creates trust. Studies reveal that oxytocin plays a big role in orgasm since it helps control fear and anxiety. In fact, when negative emotions aren’t controlled, orgasm is impossible. Self touching serves to fight the underlying stress associated with the negative stimulus so as to recreate the feelings of having someone sooth you. This reminds people of more pleasurable situations. In short, it takes the mind to a better place. Grooming and self touching, stem wholly from arousal but this arousal can be due to a variety of reasons. It might stem from anxiety, anger, stress or uncertainty. It will be your job to decide which is the main cause, and part of this means that you need to take context in mind.

Interestingly manipulations, in this way, provide others will ‘tells’ that indicate which parts of our bodies we don’t like. For example, a man who is self conscious about his hair loss will frequently brush or stroke his head in a failed effort to hide the bareness, especially so when under stress He might also run his hand backwards over his head or smooth it or pat it. A woman with a large nose will motion or touch it whenever she feels insecure. Thus, not only do these ‘tells’ indicate that someone is stressed, but they tell us what parts of their bodies they find most troublesome. In a chain reaction, the stress produces an underlying emotion that then creates a behaviour – a gesture, that serves to fight the stress. This behaviour then in turn reveals an underlying self conscious attitude toward a part of our bodies. The method used to “attack” the ‘tell’ will give you additional clues to the intent. For example, a child who is angry will pick and pull at a scar whereas one that is embarrassed will tend to cover it from sight or brush it.

Touching or stroking the body helps relieve stress by releasing the hormone oxytocin.

Touching or stroking the body helps relieve stress by releasing the hormone oxytocin.

Small children, especially boys will sometimes grab at their genitals when stressed. Being unacceptable for adults, it can be replaced with a tight leg cross where the genitals are squeezed. Women have been known to do the same thing, even bouncing a leg up and down and squeeze their upper thighs tightly together which can even result in orgasm. Not every leg bounce with tight leg crossing produces orgasm though, yet this form of soothing still produces comfort, and quite likely a dose of oxytocin to boot! Women may also lightly brush the lower parts of their breasts as they crossing their arms, which is also in effort to self sooth. With careful observation (be careful here) the breast will seem to slightly lift as the second arm crosses over the first, locking it in place. This is one of the postures that becomes much more obvious after being recognized once. Resting the head on a hand or rubbing the back of the neck, wringing the hands or rubbing the legs are all substitutes to more overt self-stimulation. Men might resort to rubbing their temples and women might employ hair touches and grooming or stroking the sides of their arms. No matter how self touching unveils itself, it can show hidden insecurities, so can provide useful information about someone especially when taken in proper context.