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Is Happiness Hereditary?

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Do our genes determine our level of happiness?  Or is it more about our life circumstances?  Studies have shown that genetics (50%) play a role along with circumstances (10%) and also our intentional activity (40%).  Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky has done extensive research on happiness and written a book “The How of Happiness” that describes these factors and ways we can influence change.  In my practice happiness is a sought after commodity and patients are looking for ways to experience consistent joy.  We tend to rely primarily on short-term happiness stimulators, such as wealth, beauty, and life altering circumstances rather than intentional changes in thought and behavior.  Happiness is an inside job and requires an internal commitment and drive to produce lasting positive effects.  Even something as dramatic as the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony may not produce long-lasting changes in her behaviors or issues.  Often people who are acquitted from crimes continue to find themselves in trouble months or years later.  They have not changed their internal thoughts, feelings, and actions that have contributed to their problems from the start.  Instead their acquittal reinforces and enables their destructive and harmful behaviors. Remember life circumstances, good or bad, account for very little in life when it comes to happiness   Although our level of happiness is partially impacted by genetics, we still have an ability to impact our joy factor.  Next week I will discuss specific ways to be intentional in your actions to increase happiness levels.

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