Be Happy Like a Baby: Here's What Babies Can Teach Us About Altruism by Noreen Braman
How can "acting like a baby" actually help others and boost your well-being? It seems that every day we hear of another study on babies that reveals them to be more than cute and cuddly tabula rasas. For example, while it has been long noted that babies laugh before they can speak, it now appears that baby laughter is part of a survival mechanism passed down from ancient humans who had not yet developed language.
Another discovery is that looking into a baby’s eyes results in a syncing of brain waves between the baby and you. You might think your brain initiates this, but it is actually initiated by the baby – another survival mechanism for bonding to enhance the chances of the baby getting nourishment, care and love. So without language, or even the ability to hold their heads up straight, babies are already influencing the world around them.
And now in another study, it appears that babies can teach us all a lesson on altruism. A review in Greater Good Magazine states that "a new study suggests that babies will give food to someone in need – even if they are hungry themselves.” This happened both with babies who were modeling older sibling behavior and those who had no such experience. And they shared their food again and again, even when there was no display of gratitude.
The conclusion? Human altruism is both “hardwired and socially reinforced."
Add this to what we already know about altruism, kindness and gratitude and how our brain rewards us for those activities with feel-good endorphins, we can boost our own well-being while helping others by acting like babies!
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