How our genes affect our mood
After completing my last blog, on ‘forcing yourself to be happy’, I started to wonder how much our genetic makeup plays a part in our general mood and ability to stay positive. Interestingly, it does. The most optimistic of us probably have our parents to thank, since we inherit one each of their genes known as the ‘happy gene’.
This gene is involved in the regulation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that ultimately influences mood. These genes are either short or long. People with short genes tend to allow their emotions dictate their behaviour, whereas those with long genes are more often unaffected by emotions. For example, a person with short genes tends to have more extreme highs and lows whereas those with long genes tend to be less sensitive to emotions and plod along at an even keel.
When I investigated it further, I discovered the more emotional types, the shorter gene people, tend to have unhappy marriages. The highs are fantastic when the mood is good, but when things are not going so well they feel depressed easier. As a result, they pick fault sooner, and this may lead to divorce.
It is just the way it is, sorry folks!
Could we fight this, and avoid the peaks and troughs in our mood? I believe we can, but for the people with short genes it would think it would be much harder to achieve than those with long genes. Our genes control our hormones, which in turn control our moods. It cannot be easy fighting something so innate.
So, what are the positives? For a start, the amazing highs are something to be thankful for. Also, being in a low mood could be a motivator. For example, if you are down about an untidy room or a cupboard that needs fixing then you are more likely to fix it. For those people who are happy no matter what is going on, they’re unlikely to be aware of the problem.
It would be interesting to find out the genetic make up of those who have succeeded in life in a big way, such as top sportsman or businessmen. Are they be more likely to have shorter genes or longer genes? I don’t know the answer but it’s certainly something to ponder.