Episode 21

dreaming gratitude wellness Dec 22, 2020

The Giving Spirit

It is a time for the giving of gifts, so in this episode, I discuss a little about the spirit of generosity, how its shaped, supported, thwarted, and targeted.

Even in young children, there is a clear preference for interacting with peers who share vs those who act more selfishly. Smaller groups makes that reputation checking easier, and individuals tend to be much more generous in smaller groups compared to larger ones. The more similar we are to others, the more generous we tend to become. 

The "love hormone" oxytocin makes people only generous to an extent - exclusively with those to whom we are already very close. Oxytocin actually decreases generosity toward everyone else!

In general, this phenomena is known as social discounting. The closer you are to someone, by age, gender and other demographics, interests, life stage or life experience - the higher the likelihood of generosity; whereas the more socially distant some one is - the farther the difference in age, demographics, interests, etc, the less and less generous we become. 

Other chemical influences like MDMA (ecstasy) have a similar effect as oxytocin. Still others, like dopamine, can actually make us less generous - specifically toward our loved ones!

What does this have to do with sleep? Not much, really. But studies do show that the same area in the brain that lights during acts of generosity is the region involved in dreaming during REM sleep - specifically social and emotional processing during dreaming. 

So does healthy sleep make you more generous? I really don't know, but one can dream...

Happy Holidays


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