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The Science of Happiness: Understanding What Makes Us Truly Happy

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Happiness is a subjective experience that varies greatly from person to person. Despite its individual nature, scientists have made great strides in understanding what contributes to happiness and what holds us back from it.

The connection between happiness and mental health is strong, affecting each other in significant ways. Good mental health leads to overall happiness and well-being while being happy can improve mental health and alleviate symptoms of mental illness

Studies have shown that people who report high levels of happiness also tend to have better mental health. This is because happiness is associated with positive emotions and a more optimistic outlook, which can help to protect against depression and anxiety. Additionally, when we feel happy, our bodies release chemicals, such as endorphins, that can have a positive impact on our mental health.

On the other hand, mental illness can significantly impact our happiness levels and overall well-being. Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and stress can interfere with our ability to experience positive emotions and enjoy life. However, it’s important to remember that treatment and support are available for mental illness, and with the right help, individuals can recover and improve their happiness and mental health.

In order to maintain good mental health and happiness, it’s important to take care of ourselves both physically and emotionally. This includes engaging in physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and connecting with others. It’s also important to seek help when needed and engage in self-care practices, such as mindfulness and gratitude, that can help to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

The genetic component of happiness

Studies have shown that approximately 50% of our happiness levels are determined by our genes. This means that some people are naturally predisposed to be happier than others, just as they are predisposed to certain physical and personality traits. However, this doesn’t mean that our genes control our happiness completely. We have a significant amount of control over our own happiness, despite our genetics.

The impact of the environment on happiness

Our environment also plays a significant role in determining our happiness levels. A supportive, positive environment, where we feel safe and valued, is crucial for our happiness and well-being. On the other hand, an unhealthy or toxic environment can have a profound negative impact on our happiness and mental health. This includes our home, work, and social environments, so it’s important to be intentional about the people and places we surround ourselves with.

The power of daily choices

In addition to our genetics and environment, the choices we make on a daily basis can have a significant impact on our happiness. This includes the activities we engage in, the food we eat, and the relationships we build. For example, engaging in physical exercises, such as going for a walk or doing yoga, has been shown to release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being. Eating a healthy diet and surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive people can also boost our happiness levels.

Mindfulness and gratitude

Mindfulness and gratitude are two important practices that can significantly improve our overall well-being and happiness. Mindfulness involves focusing our attention on the present moment, without judgment, and being aware of our thoughts and feelings. This practice has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve our overall happiness levels. Gratitude, on the other hand, involves being thankful for what we have and appreciating the good things in our lives. This practice has been shown to increase feelings of happiness, as well as improve our relationships and overall well-being.


The science of happiness is a complex and ever-evolving field of study. While our genes and environment both play a significant role in determining our happiness levels, we have a significant amount of control over our own happiness through the daily choices we make.

Engaging in practices such as mindfulness and gratitude can also greatly improve our overall well-being and happiness. By understanding the science of happiness, we can make informed choices that contribute to our overall happiness and well-being.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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