Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Baby’s first smiles give mom’s brain a buzz

July 9, 2008

Tiny grins light up reward centers that lead to quality care, study says. Any mother who’s ever felt a jolt of joy at her baby’s first grin knows how intoxicating that can be.

Now, scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine say there’s more to the baby buzz than just a rush of happy feelings. Turns out that seeing your own child smile actually activates the pleasure receptors in the brain typically associated with food, sex — and drug addiction.

“It may be that seeing your own baby’s face is like a ‘natural high,’ said Lane Strathearn, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor and and Texas Children’s Hospital who studied the brain reactions of 28 first-time moms.

“We know similar brain circuits are activated,” he added. “Whether that feels the same as a shot of cocaine, I’m not sure.” (more…)

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Five Great Ways to Achieve Happiness Through Serving Others

July 7, 2008

From Zen Habits
I worked in the “Happiness” business. For a long time I worked in the Hospitality industry, restaurants and hotels, where I have been a busboy, host, waiter, bartender and manager. For 12 years I spent most evenings and weekends, and every holiday, taking care of people who were going out to dinner or attending an event like a wedding or prom.

I truly enjoyed this work as it was emotionally fulfilling and financially rewarding, not to mention just plain fun a lot of the time.

There are those who would disparage a career path like this as demeaning and servile, yet the call to serve others is the source of my own greatest happiness. (more…)

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness

July 6, 2008

New Research Shows That Humans Have More Control Over Their Happiness Than Previously Thought. What exactly is happening inside the brains of people experiencing joy and happiness? “It’s a very complicated chemical soup,” explained Dr. Richard Davidson, who has made a life’s work out of studying “happy brains.” His lab at the University of Wisconsin is devoted to understanding how much of our joy level is set at birth, and how much we can control.

With a skull cap containing 128 sensors, Davidson’s team can watch a subject’s brain respond to a series of photographs, some pleasant, some distressing.

“We can challenge the brain by presenting these emotional images and look to see how you respond to them,” Davidson said.

ABC News’ Bill Weir underwent the test, and by studying the activity in his left prefrontal cortex, Davidson discovered that Weir’s brain was “more positive than not.” (more…)