Human love can react automatically to the smallest sign of danger and cause endless cycles of aggression and destruction. There are three types of solutions based on the work of great thinkers. Each saw fear and cruelty under pressure and the destruction brought by war.
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When a loving mother holds the newborn baby in her arms for the first time, she intuitively knows to care for the child. A relationship is formed, a bond created. The child will emerge in abilities, babbling, creating imaginary scenarios, the capacity to collaborate, feel pain, understand emotions, discuss differing positions, argue convictions, until the child grows up and can meet the mother in an adult relationship of empathy, intimacy, and perspective-taking.
The mother-infant dance will shape the child's affiliative bonds throughout life.
The neurobiology of affiliation is the new scientific field that describes the neural, endocrine, and behavioral systems sustaining our capacity to love. There are three factors in the neurobiology of bonding:
It is a process and it describes the coordinated action in the service of the group’s survival and resilience. Social cohesion makes ants so resilient. By coordinating behavior, the strength of the group is far greater than its individual members.
Oxytocin - a large molecule produced by neurons in the hypothalamus - is known for coordinating bonding, sociality, and group living. Oxytocin targets mainly the amygdala, a center for fear and vigilance, the hippocampus, and the striatum, a locus of motivation and reward.
Oxytocin is released through the central part of the neuron as well as its extensions, called dendrites. The dendrites increase oxytocin release whenever attachment memories are used and prime us for a lifetime. Early attachment memories help us move without fear. It imprints the infant's brain with distinct social patterns.
The neural network is not enough to transmit the knowledge, linguistic competencies, social cognition, executive functions, and mental abstractions we obtained. Humans have additional higher-order systems that enable planning, resonance, and the ability to communicate and share effect.
It is the brain structures that enable mothers to care for their offspring.
Oxytocin pair bonds, group sharing, and consoling behavior, and is also very sensitive to danger. It protects against threats based on the nuances of social behavior. Oxytocin activates the alarm systems of the fight-or-flight response.
The same oxytocin that supports love and kindness, also underlies prejudice, parochialism, and out-group derogation.
A child's pre-teen and teen years are a high-emotion transitory period. This is due to shifting classmates, social pressure, multiple classrooms and a period of many 'firsts'.
Yoga and meditation provide a sense of peace and calmness, which is due to the hormone GABA.
This anti-anxiety molecule produced during such practices works by slowing down the neurons being fired inside the mind.