Society Magazine

Are You Largely Unhappy?

Posted on the 31 July 2013 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

There's likely a theological, and scientific, reason for it:

The Theology of the Body tells us that each person was made for self donation and that if we want to KeyToHappinessbe happy, we need to make a gift of ourselves.   It further tells us that when we treat others, or ourselves, as objects of pleasure, we break down spiritually and emotionally because we are acting in a manner that is inconsistent with God’s plan and our design.    This sounds like a lovely theological speculation, but what if it was physiologically true as well?

This week, researchers at UCLA  demonstrated that the type of happiness you pursue in life effect your overall well-being on a genetic level.   That is not to say that the level of happiness you experience is genetic, but rather the kinds of happiness you seek in life actually effect you on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that people who, as a matter of habit, chase after ”hedonic happiness”  (the pleasure that comes from partying, sex, overeating, drinking, etc.) show physical evidence of gene expression that resulted in higher inflammatory response and the lower production of anti-viral and antibodies in their immune cells.  This response is similar to the physiological response of depressed or exhausted individuals.

By contrast, people who pursue, as a matter of habit, “eudaimonic happiness”  (happiness that comes from pursuing the greater good) show physical evidence of gene expression that resulted in less inflammation and a stronger immune response (i.e., higher production of antiviral and antibodies in their immune cells).   This particular pattern of gene expression is associated with better physical well-being and overall good health.

The truly surprising thing was that both groups claimed to feel good.  Both groups claimed to be happy and well, but only the people who habitually pursued the greater good experienced  the good health–all the way down to the genetic level– that ought to accompany their happiness.

He's not quite done yet and gives sound advice at the end.

Check it out.

Be happy.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog