Monday, August 19, 2013

Can Following Your Bliss Have A Positive Effect On Your Genes?

See Positive Psychology Influences Gene Expression in Humans, Scientists Say from Science News. Having "a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life" sounds like following your bliss.
Looking to Genes for the Secret to Happiness By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, in the NY Times magazine.
"According to a team of scientists from the University of North Carolina and the University of California, Los Angeles, different types of happiness have surprisingly different effects on the human genome.

People who have high levels of what is known as eudaimonic well-being — the kind of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life (Mother Teresa) — showed very favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells. They had low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

However, people who had relatively high levels of hedonic well-being — the type of happiness that comes from consummatory self-gratification (celebrities) — actually showed just the opposite. They had an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression.

In the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists asked how the human genome might respond to positive psychology. They examined the biological implications of both hedonic and eudaimonic well-being through the lens of the human genome, a system of some 21,000 genes that has evolved fundamentally to help humans survive and be well."

"The scientists drew blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were assessed for hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, as well as potentially confounding negative psychological and behavioral factors. They used the CTRA gene-expression profile to map the potentially distinct biological effects of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being.

“And while those with eudaimonic well-being showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells and those with hedonic well-being showed an adverse gene-expression profile, people with high levels of hedonic well-being didn’t feel any worse than those with high levels of eudaimonic well-being,” Prof Cole said."

1 comment:

  1. Its true your surroundings can make you happy or unhappy That old saying its just all in your mind. Well we will reexamine this. The environment that you live in can most certainly have a profound impact on your attitude. I like to use this as a example a beautiful young woman is going to be treated better in general than a unattractive young woman. The more attractive woman may get more job offers. She may be asked out for a date far more often than the less attractive young woman. She may find it far easier to to catch a successful rich guy than her less attractive counterpart. Just take a look around if you pay attention when you go into a bank notice that the bank employees woman more so than men tend to be more attractive than woman or men that work in retail for example.Taller people tend to earn more money than people of average height. Better looking people tend to get promoted more than less attractive people and so on. Studies have clearly shown that looks matter a lot Im not saying that this is a good thing. One should not be judged by their looks but they frequently are. We could look at so many different things where biases exsist besides looks. Biases do exist whether we like it or not.