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13 April 2024

'Science of happiness' sets the stage for World Government Summit in Dubai

Pic: Wam

By Wam

The Global Happiness Dialogue, launched on February 11 as part of the World Government Summit 2017 in the UAE, held a session on the genetic and neurological baselines for happiness.

Meike Bartels, Professor in Behaviour and Quantitative Genetics at VU University Amsterdam and neuroscientist Dr Rick Hanson discussed the impact of genetics and neurology on happiness and well-being, under the themed session, 'The Science of Happiness'.

Dr Hanson stressed the importance of converting experiences into lessons learned, saying: "We all need inner strength so that we continue to enjoy life with confidence.

"This lies within the neurons of the brain where most of our emotions stem from positive experiences.

"However, we also have a bias towards negative emotions, which can often overwhelm individuals and fall into patterns of depression. This is what motivates us to seek methods of attaining happiness through scientific research."

Professor Bartels revealed variations on how to test individuals for happiness, based on a study that revealed the existence of three genetic variations related to happiness, two of which were linked to how, and why, individuals feel depressed.

She said: "This discovery is important for happiness studies and provides a different outlook to assess individuals, thus allowing for increased creativity in finding solutions."