Lifestyle

Is happiness genetic? 8 ways to feel happier – Insider

Some people seem to be born with a happier, carefree disposition than others, and research indicates that — yes — some of your sense of well-being may be in your genes. But only partly. 
Your genes make up an estimated 40% of your ability to be happy, says psychotherapist Susan Zinn of Susan Zinn Therapy. 
But that doesn’t mean that if you weren’t born with certain genes, you’re destined to be unhappy. 
Zinn says that “it’s completely possible to rewire our brains for happiness,” because the other 60% of happiness comes down to lifestyle and other environmental factors. 
Learn more about how your genetic makeup contributes to your life satisfaction and how you can increase feelings of happiness and well-being regardless of your genetic sequence.
Happiness is typically determined by three main components, according to Zinn:
Research indicates that we can inherit many traits including optimism, self-esteem, and happiness. So by that logic, yes, there are genes that may predispose you to a happier disposition.
For example, a 2011 study found promising evidence that people with a certain form of the gene called 5-HTTLPR reported higher life satisfaction. 
And a landmark 2016 study that formally linked happiness to genetics involved the DNA of nearly 300,000 people. The researchers pinpointed three specific genetic variants associated with well-being. But they also found that these genetic variations weren’t the only factor. An interplay of genetics and environment also contributed to happiness.  
“You have a choice,” Zinn says. “It’s no different than deciding what to wear or what food to order. When it comes to happiness, there’s a lot we can do about it.”
Despite your genetic makeup, there are ways you can learn to be happier, even in difficult times. Other traits, such as resilience, can be cultivated over time.
Here are eight practical ways to choose happiness:
Although research suggests that happiness is inherited to some extent, you’re not limited by your DNA. The ability to feel happy takes practice and can be achieved with the right mindset.
Volunteering, exercise, nature, and attention to gratitude practices are just a few things you can do to increase your sense of life satisfaction, well-being, purpose, and ultimately, happiness.
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