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Two Kinds of Happiness (One Is Bad for You)

Oct 3 2014

Deepak Chopra MD (official) post from 10/3/2014

The field of positive psychology took a step forward with a new finding about happiness and our genes. In the past, genes were considered to be stable and fixed in how they affect the body, but now that the human genome has been mapped, this view has radically changed. The chemical activity of genes, known as genetic expression, is altered by many factors. It’s highly likely that genes are so fluid, in fact, that genetic expression changes according to a person’s thoughts, feelings, and moods. If that’s true, then saying something as basic as “I’m happy” could need genetic verification. Words are just words, but your genetic-expression profile is a fact.

This was underlined by the first ever study of genes and happiness. Researchers from UCLA and the University of North Carolina discovered that the genetic link to happiness cuts two ways. People who are happy because they have a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives showed positive gene expression in their immune cells, especially as it affected inflammation and antiviral response. This kind of happiness was labeled “eudaimonic well-being,” from the Greek word for happiness, eudaimon. By contrast, people whose happiness depends on consumerism and bursts of pleasure actually fared worse than unhappy people in the genetic expression of their immune cells, showing a tendency toward inflammation and decreased ability to fight viruses. This kind of happiness was labeled “hedonic well-being” from the Greek for pleasure, hedone.

via Two Kinds of Happiness (One Is Bad for You) | LinkedIn.