Though the pursuit of happiness is listed as an inalienable right in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, achieving happiness has never been that easy. In recent years, happiness research has become a hotly debated topic in social science, especially over what people need to be satisfied in their lives. Although things such as a good income, steady employment, a strong family life, a good education, and good health have all been linked to life satisfaction, research has not shown all that strong a relationship. Part of the problem seems to be that happiness has a way of returning to what psychologists call a “set point” or “baseline” of happiness. Also known as the "hedonic treadmill", happiness seems to be as much about personality and genetic factors as it is about good things happening in your life.
But is it possible for things like life satisfaction and well-being to be shaped by genetics?
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.