T's Space

The Happiness Gene – Myth Or Reality?

Have you ever wondered why some people who should be miserable are, actually, quite happy? There are happy people living in abject poverty. Happy people with chronic and incurable diseases. Happy people who have never seen the light of day nor heard a baby cry.

On the other hand, we all know, or have heard of, rich, famous, and drop-dead gorgeous people who are absolutely miserable. How often have we heard about the suicide or drug addiction of someone from a wonderful and close-knit family?

Neither happiness nor misery is dependent on nationality, skin color, economic status, health, or any other factor you might naturally associate with happiness or misery.

Do we have any control over our capacity for happiness? Are some of us born with a happiness gene, while others are not? Exactly what role does genetics play in all these ponderings?

There are genetic aspects of our personality that we never before thought were hereditary. In school, we learned about the genetic factors for eye and hair color, body type, alcoholism, and disease predispositions, to name a few. But did you know that there is a sense of humor gene? Recent studies indicate there may even be a “faith” or “God” gene.

But, is there a happiness gene? And, if there is, then is there also a misery gene? According to the latest research, the answer to both questions is “Yes!” Behavioral geneticists have found both a happiness gene and a gene that carries negativity and anxiety.

The fact is…about 50% of happiness is genetically determined. While you can control 40% of your happiness quotient, the remaining 10% comes from outside circumstances, such as accidents, illness, natural disasters, the economy, job loss, and a plummeting stock market.

People with this happiness gene, called the “LL” carrier, tend to dwell on the good and ignore the bad. A study conducted in the United Kingdom found that volunteers with this gene were drawn to positive images, such as cuddly puppies, more quickly than those without the gene. At the conclusion of this study, it was determined that people with this gene actively seek out positive events which validate their optimistic and happy viewpoints. LL carriers, who are genetically driven to look on the bright side of life, seem to have a reserve of happiness to draw upon during times of stress.

People without the happiness gene were more likely to be linked with a tendency to mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

The good news? No matter which gene you carry, you have the ability to control your mood by making better choices. People who are sociable, stable, active, conscientious, and hardworking tend to live happier, more fulfilled lives. If you build up your inner resources, you greatly increase your chances for happiness. Then, it is irrelevant whether you have the happiness gene or not.

Source by Deborah L. Bishop

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