If You’re Happy and You Know It… Thank Your Genes?

Posted: October 11, 2011 by jerkmag in CRISP -- health
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you ever wondered why some people just always seem happy, while others, well, don’t? I have this friend who is in a good mood all the time. I’m not kidding. Got a bad grade on an exam? That’s okay, she’ll do better next time. Boyfriend broke up with her? It wasn’t meant to be, she’s better off. Cat died from feline leukemia? It lived a good life up until the end. Personally, any of those situations would send me into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s head first, but not her. She’s just… happy.

While it seems unfair that some people are just born happy and others aren’t, it’s unfortunately true. Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles have found that a certain gene can actually predict one’s sense of optimism and self-esteem. The oxytocin receptor gene is at the center of this research.

According to UCLA scientists, if you have that gene in its entirety, then you are more likely to have “lower levels of optimism, self-esteem… and significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms.”  On the flipside, if some parts of that gene are missing for you, then you’re more likely to be a happier, more optimistic person. Luckily for those unfortunate enough to possess the gene in its entirety, there hasn’t been extensive research on this topic as of yet. That means your happiness isn’t completely dependent on whether you have the complete gene.

So, all of you unhappy people out there, you can relax for now: you aren’t destined to be unhappy for the rest of your life. Meanwhile, all of you perpetually happy people: give it a rest. We understand that your life is great and that everything happens for a reason, but enough is enough.

-Amber Brenza

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