Friday, March 07, 2008

Happiness is Genetic

Yesterday, I texted my friend [Aside: I am uber cool since I got my iPhone--two things now happen: 1) I actually answer my phone where my other phone was such a nuisance and I hated it, I left it everywhere and never answered it and 2) I actually text now because I have a couple friends who text all day--they have thumbs like Ninjas]. Anyyyyyway, I texted a friend, who is, on a bad day, a ray of sunshine. I said this:

"You know, I wonder about you fill-in-the-blank name. Are you capable of depression? Even in your sadness, you're irrepressible! I marvel. There are days when I feel defeated."

You see, my friend is enduring a shit storm of monsoon proportions. The morning can be different than the afternoon, the afternoon different from dinner time, dinner time different than bed time. Sure, she has her moments, but on the whole, she's smiley in her outlook and always has been even when enduring other shit storms of monsoon proportions. She's had her share and I've seen most of them. And I'm always amazed.

Now, one could say that she's in denial. And that could be part of it now. But I've known this woman a long time and she's just cheerful. Later yesterday, she sent me a link to this article and said:

I saw this news article on Yahoo! Health and thought that you might be interested.

Maybe I got the happy gene? :)

I didn't say she wasn't a rotten brat. Just a happy rotten brat who likes to rub it in. New research indicates that maybe her outlook is genetic--that she was born with a happy spirit:

A study of nearly 1,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins found genes control half the personality traits that make people happy while factors such as relationships, health and careers are responsible for the rest of our well-being.

"We found that around half the differences in happiness were genetic," said Tim Bates, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who led the study. "It is really quite surprising."

We all know Eeyores and most of them seemed like sad little creatures right from birth. And there are Winnie-the-Poohs, too, who bound through life, no matter the troubles and just can't seem to stay too upset for too long. And then there are whole families who grump through life or smile through it. It makes sense that part of the emotional approach is genetic.

I'm kinda pissed off at my DNA. I come from good, Midwestern farm stock. We might not be shiny, happy people all the time, but we do know how to endure. I'd just like to endure a bit happier.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for your friend. Most people I know fall in the same category as what you describe yourself to be in. Enduring...but we could use a bit of help with doing it a little "happier." :-)

kman said...

Heh... sorry to rub salt in the wound but I think you know what my genes are in this regard. Woot!

I have to agree with this research... I sometimes think... why am I laughing when life is crapping on me... and it's because I KNOW things will get good again and it doesn't bother me.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Kman,

I know your genetics and you can kiss my ass! I do like your cheerful attitude, though. It's fun to be around. :)

carol said...

What I wonder is, I consider myself a happy person but others think I'm sad because I have a tired-looking, deadpan sort of face, expressionless when I am in deep thought. My mother was like this too. Am I actually really sad and don't know it? Does it matter how I feel if others think I'm sad?

Melissa Clouthier said...

Carol,

I don't know about that. I do know that when we smile, endorphins are released whether we are truly happy or not. Just the act of moving our face in a happy way, changes our chemistry.

I have relatives who seem happier when they're miserable. They like to grump and complain and seem happiest when they are doing it. Are they happy? I don't know. Most of the rest of us, are not happy when we have to listen to them!

sandy said...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H e l l o . . . N i c e . . . B l o g . . . P U S H . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .