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Posts tagged ‘touch’

Living the Happy Life

by ClareShale Mountain Star

That heartwarming feeling you get when you help another, even just holding the door for a stranger, is connected to a deep place within your very humanity. As it turns out, scientists are discovering that humans share the impulse to help with chimpanzees, our closest genetic animal friends – and that impulse is connected to a well-researched brain hormone.
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Recently I watched a small segment of the PBS series The Human Spark (hosted by Alan Alda, yessss!). The video clip shows an experiment designed to compare the altruistic response present in chimps and human 18 month-old infants.  As you can imagine, the cute factor is quite high! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK8rKKp-vP0
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Basically what they found is that both humans and chimps will go out of their way to help another. Felix Warneken at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology sums it up well: “Potential altruistic motivation to act on behalf of others is something that is shared between chimps and humans, and therefore something that maybe was already a characteristic of our common ancestor.”
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There are many reasons I can think of that this makes so much sense. Being of support for others is simply what being in community is all about. We are a social species and the well-being of those around us directly affects our own well-being.
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Another super-cool factor in this realm is the hormone that helps us build trust: Oxytocin, also called the “cuddle” hormone.
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This hormone is released during important social occasions such as communal meals, breastfeeding, parent/child bonding time, physical contact with other beings (humans and animals) and not surprisingly during moments of altruistic behavior.
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It is actually possible to increase your oxytocin levels by being generous! Check out this article for more info: http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?type=article&article_id=218393041
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There’s a bit of science for your day.
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Here’s a fun exercise to try:
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The next time you are feeling anxious, stressed out or frazzled, you may be in need of a dose of oxytocin! If you can, get yourself into a cuddle situation as quickly as possible. If animal or human friends are not close by, try letting someone go ahead of you at the store, holding the door for a stranger or even making a donation to a trusted non-profit.
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What are your favorite ways to connect? Let us know if this exercise is helpful for you in bringing you through to a state of Trust in the universe.
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Astra Spider & ClareShale Mountain Star: 

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