Emotions are a vast subject, but there’s one statement that holds true dor everyone. The most desirable emotional state is happiness. Even though happiness is a mental state, the body is deeply affected by our moods. Chemical messages tell every cell how you feel. In it’s own way a cell can be happy or sad, agitated or content, joyous or despairing. The super genome amply confirms this fact. If your stomach has ever tightened from fear, the “gut brain” is eavesdropping on our emotion, and when depression afflicts several generations in a family, epigenetic marks may be playing a key role. Most polls find that aro9und 80 percent of people describe themselves as happy, and yet other research indicates that at best around 30 percent of people are actually thriving, while rates of depression, anxiety and stress continue to rise.
It is highly unlikely that a “happiness gene” will ever be discovered. The new genetics tells us that in complex diseases like cancer hundreds of separate genetic mutations are likely involved. Emotions are much more complex than a disease. But we don’t need to discover the happiness gene. Instead, we should give as much positive input to the super genome as possible, trusting it to produce output. Science may take decades to correlate the complex gene activity that produces happiness; in the meantime, the super genome connects all the input that life brings us.
Let’s contrast the kind of input that promotes beneficial gene activity with the kind that creates damage. Both lists contain items you are quite familiar with by now, but it’s good to see everything gathered together.
Positive Input to the Super Genome – 12 Things that Reinforce Happiness:
- Love and affection
- Satisfying work
- Creative outlets
- Being appreciated
- Being of service
- Healthy food, water, and air
- Setting long-range goals
- Physical fitness
- Regular routine free of stress
It’s hard to imagine that someone whose life contains these things on a daily basis wouldn’t be happy. By the same token the things that the super genome reads as negative must be avoided.
Negative Input to the Super Genome – 14 Things that Damage Happiness:
- Toxic relationships
- Boring, unsatisfying work
- Being ignored or taken for granted
- Constant distractions during the day
- Sedentary habits
- Negative beliefs. Pessimism
- Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
- Eating when you’re already full
- Processed foods and fast foods
- Physical illness, especially if painful
- Anxiety and worry
- Unhappy friends
The two sides of human experience constantly vie for our attention, and it must be admitted that for most people, the scars of negative experience are hard to heal. Adding positive input certainly helps – if you were unloved as a child, being loved as an adult makes a huge difference. But happiness will never be bioengineered.
- Write down five specific things to make you happy. On a daily basis, consciously do one of them.
- Express gratitude for one thing a day.
- Express appreciation for one person every day.
- Spend more time with people who are happy and less time with people who aren’t.
- Set a “good news only” policy at mealtimes.
- As you go to sleep at night, take a moment to mentally review the good things that happened that day.
- Do one thing a week hat brings someone else a moment of happiness.
- Make leisure time creative; go beyond watching TV and surfing the internet.