In 2017, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, published a paper that, for the first time, linked genetics to happiness.
In the study of nearly 300,000 people, the researchers, led by Meike Bartels, found that there was a direct link between genes and happiness.
This is a groundbreaking study. For the first time, researchers were able to determine that happiness is genetic; that your your happiness is predetermined by your genes.
But there’s much more to the story. You see, the research also pointed out that environmental factors can turn happiness or sadness genes on or off. In other words, your environment can turn on or off genes that make you happy or sad. This environmental influence over your genes is known as epigenetics.
Environmental Factors That Make You Happy
- Associate with Happy, Upbeat People – If your inner circle is made up of happy, upbeat people, like a virus, they will infect you with their happiness and positivity by turning on your happiness genes and suppressing your sadness genes.
- Gratitude – Expressing gratitude every day turns happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
- Volunteering – Helping others through volunteer work turns happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
- Dream-Setting – Pursuing something you are passionate about, something that you enjoy that brings you job, turns happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
- Pursuing Meaningful Goals – Pursuing meaningful goals, goals that help advance your dreams, can turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
- Finding a Success Mentor – Finding a mentor who teaches you what to do and what not to do, activates your own happiness genes and deactivates your sadness genes.
- Happy Spouses – When your spouse is happy, upbeat and optimistic, this activates your own happiness genes and deactivates your sadness genes.
- Upbeat Boss – Working for a boss who is happy, upbeat and optimistic, activates your own happiness genes and deactivates your sadness genes.
- Read to Learn – The brain loves to learn. It’s hardwired to learn and rewards you, when you read to learn, with happiness neurotransmitters that turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
- Find a Job You Like or Love – Finding a job that you like or love will turn on your happiness genes and suppress your sadness genes.
- Growth – Taking on projects or responsibilities that force you to grow as an individual (meaning to learn new things) excites the brain, which then releases happiness neurotransmitters that turn on happiness genes and turn off sadness genes.
- New Hobbies – The brain likes novelty. When you take up a new hobby or anything new, your brain rewards you by producing happiness neurotransmitters which turn on happiness genes and turn off sadness genes.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, “Effort-Less Wealth”, “Change Your Habits Change Your Life”, “Rich Habits Poor Habits” and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”