Is Happiness Genetic and What Causes It – Updated with Recent Studies!


So far, we have learned the happiness is a self-estimation of satisfaction. Thus, it is almost a personal fact. It means the people have their measurement of how happy they are. Yet, nowadays, there is a belief that there can be a genetic background behind happy moments. Even though scientist believes on this statement they still do not have a clear conclusion of is happiness genetic and what causes it.

But, numerous studies have done over the years to clarify whether happiness can be an inherited character from parents to children. Most of those studies have aimed to explore the behaviour of hormones than specific genes. Since there are clear findings on the effects of certain hormones to regulate mental processes, the hypothesis of whether the genes can regulate happiness is reasonable.

But, as the expert’s highlights, the presence of depression or anxiety does not mean being unhappy. It means there are still certain points for depressed people to be happy. Thus, it really matters whether the decreasing or increasing level of hormones responsible for depression can have a direct impact on happiness. If so, depressed people should turn into normal status in front of happy moments. Isn’t it?

Is happiness genetic and what causes it in hormonal levels?

When we come into the hormonal actions of mental status, we can discuss three major hormones. Those are dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine which regulates certain body mechanisms. Thus, before looking at the exact mode of actions of those hormones, it is really a matter to conclude whether those hormones have a direct impact on regulating happiness or not.

How dopamine act inside the body?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has major functions on body movements and brain functions. Generally, it works on the brain and decide the movements of the human body such as two-point discrimination, balance and even posture. The common disability associated with a decreased level of dopamine secretion is known as Parkinson’s disease. This is a kind of disability suffered by elderly ages due to degeneration of the dopamine secreting areas of the brain.

When it comes to happiness, dopamine performs a multi-aspect of benefits. It includes close interactions with serotonin, inhibiting the actions of norepinephrine and increasing blood circulation through its vasodilating effects. Thus, people always feel like better body functioning. It says the overall effects of this particular hormone can make us happy. But, it really matters whether it promotes happiness as one of its major effects. Basically, the researchers never conclude such a finding up to now. However, a study published by Ashby et al. has given the idea that dopamine can be responsible for positive mood in psychology when secretes at optimal levels.

The actions of serotonin for happiness!

The systematic reviews are done with the popular research findings of the field that has mentioned certain important facts about the relationship between serotonin and happiness. As those highlights, the increasing level of serotonin can regulate how depressed the person is. It means if the brain receives enough serotonin as the neurotransmitters agent, it can encourage a positive mood. This can define as happy too. But, if it is less than desirable level the person may feel depressed. Further, this phenomenon is widely using in drug therapies for mental diseases.

The action of epinephrine in promoting happiness?

The systematic review named “Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Review Article” published in “Iranian Journal of Public Health” has also pointed out the effects of epinephrine when deciding happiness. Since this is one of the main hormones that act in flying or flight reactions that come into action in emerging situations, it can create positive reinforcement as same as the situation of extreme happiness. But, it is a doubt whether this is a true feeling or feeling that can become a symptom of a mental disorder.

How happy parents receive happy babies?

Once you go through the hormonal responses for happiness, you may get the idea that there are no clear points to accept happiness as a genetic predisposing factor. But, we still cannot exclude this argument without clear conclusions.

Similarly, you may have seen the parents used to be happy throughout their lives has the happiest children. Yes! Sometimes there might have exemptions. But, this fact is moreover true. So, we have identified certain positive hypothesis that can be the strong pieces of evidence behind these observations.

  • The children may get happiness simulation through the behaviours of parents. It means, if the parents used to listen to music and to be relaxed even in front of difficult life situations, the children are more prone to follow them.
  • Children may influence positivity. Even without the clear observations of behaviour, when children get continuous advice and suggestions to be positive, they may adhere to a positive lifestyle.
  • The inborn characteristics of the family may eventually let them enhance the positivity of their thinking.

However, before concluding any of these assumptions, there must have enough studies in different study settings.

The outline!

Yes! Still, there are no clear conclusions of is happiness genetic and what causes it. But, nowadays, several studies are in progress to find out its true influences. So, sometimes, you may receive the news that state “happiness is an extremely genetic predisposing factor” within the next few years.


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