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How You React to Crying Babies Will Determine Their Future

How You React to Crying Babies Will Determine Their Future

Scientific findings show how parents react to crying babies can have an important impact on their development. Infants with parents who respond quickly, consistently, and warmly when they cry have healthy emotional development later on. These studies have suggested that responsive and sensitive parents can protect children from developing stress coping mechanisms. One study looked at babies born with predisposed stress-related symptoms and their parents, and concluded that even though there were risk factors in the babies for stress, they were able to be relieved with affectionate caresses during early infancy.

Quick and consistent response to a crying baby, referred to sometimes as “sensitive parenting,” might also make the difference between success and failure at school. Researchers have concluded that infants with relatively insensitive parents end up with the worst behavioral problems. At a chemical level, affectionate touch and other nurturing behaviors appear to trigger the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like oxytocin. With the release of these hormones, there is a fast recovery from stressful events.

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As important as it is to respond warmly and quickly to a crying baby, it is also important to prevent the baby from being exposed to angry or fearful voices, negative body language, and being left alone in distress. Avoiding these stressful situations can also facilitate a baby’s learning and the development of positive social relationships. To better understand this concepts let us look at the physiological responses related to them:

1. Touch

Research studies have suggested that touch triggers the release of natural pain-killers and sedatives, thus counteracting the effects of stress. This is demonstrated in one study that looked that effect of a heel prick and signs of distress in infants. Once held naked against their mothers’ bare skin, the level of stress hormone levels was greatly reduced. Touch is vital, but more specifically the type of touch is also vital. For example, researchers have discovered that light touch in younger babies (two to six months old) can be irritating to them and so a firmer touch might be more preferred. The key is a gentle, slow, moderate pressure, a kind of infant massage. Touch is also more likely to soothe when it’s accompanied by other forms of affectionate contact.

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2. Body language

Babies begin to recognize facial expressions immediately after birth. A large body of research indicates that babies prefer to look at happy faces, and are upset by displays of negative emotion. One study looked at six-month-old babies and found that they can distinguish between happy and angry body language, alternatively affecting their emotional development later on.

3. Movement

As noted above, all factors are important when trying to respond appropriately to crying babies, and movement is equally vital. One study showed that babies experienced slower heart rates and reduced crying when they were held by an adult who was moving or rocking them from side to side.

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4. Cleanliness

One common factor that contributes to babies’ crying is comfort and cleanliness. Many times a diaper change can be stressful for a baby which presents with a dilemma. Should you change the diaper, or let the baby sleep through with a wet diaper? Some researchers have suggested that unless your baby has a skin infection, there is no need to wake up a sleeping baby for a diaper change.

5. Company

The World Health Organization recommends that infants under the age of six months sleep in the same room as their parents. This sleeping arrangement ensures that caregivers will be on hand if the baby is distressed or experiences a life-threatening event, and there may be other benefits too. Researchers speculate that having parents nearby at night may help babies regulate the stress response during the day.

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For more information on the research studies discussed above, click here.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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