Picking up on last week’s post
It’s probably worth giving some consideration to each of the three factors in determining our happiness. Today, we’ll look at genetics…
Until quite recently
Most psychologists believed that our predisposition towards happiness (or not) was largely genetically determined, on account of two research findings:
- Happiness is very stable over a person’s lifetime
- People have a remarkable capacity to become immune to (positive or negative) life changes
On this basis, it seemed that there was little point in any of us trying to do anything about it
Because our happiness would always come back to its genetically-determined ‘set point’ (rather like a thermostat controlling temperature).
But in 2001, psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky and colleagues were able to identify other factors in the happiness process
circumstances and personal choices. More on this later, but at this stage, it’s important to recognise that 50% genetic determination for wellbeing is actually much less than previously thought (ie 100%)!!
This was something of a breakthrough
Because it now opened up the possibility that we could actually influence our happiness through changing our behaviour. That leads on to the other two factors, circumstances and choices (see next posts)…