Happiness comes in many different forms.
· Eudaemonia is the happiness that comes from satisfaction and fulfillment over time.
· Hedonia is the form of happiness associated with feeling pleasure in the moment.
Both hedonic and eudaemonic well-being are two ways of thinking about the pursuit of happiness. Eudaemonism is about engaging in activities not for our own happiness but to realize our own potential. Through the first-ever genome-wide association study on inheritable eudaemonic well-being, the researchers found two gene loci (specific sections of your DNA) only associated with eudaemonic well-being. However, the investigators also noticed a considerable overlap in the loci found to be linked to eudaemonic and hedonic well-being, implying that these two forms of well-being may be influenced by largely the same key genes.
So, when genetic scientists announced in 2018 that they had found the location of the “happiness gene”, the world took note. Scroll forward to 2023, and scientists are now arguing that DNA could be 70-80% responsible for your levels of happiness.
Yes, in part.
Like so many heritable conditions, there are always several factors in play, including:
· Interplay with other related genes
· Childhood experience
· Personal choices
Sometimes, happiness might come from the pursuits that give our lives value and purpose – self-actualization, helping others, and feeling generally useful. Other times, happiness is more visceral -- it's about pleasurable physical sensations, comfort, and pain avoidance. An individual's experience of happiness is subjective, but happiness, in general, is a state of positive emotional well-being.
The term “hedonism” isn’t limited to clinical or purely philosophical applications.
When someone or something is described as “hedonistic”, we immediately understand the meaning: the relentless pursuit of self-indulgent pleasure. However, if you’re not a philosophy major or trained psychotherapist, you might not be intimately familiar with eudaimonic well-being. The concept of eudaimonic well-being originated from Aristotle. While hedonism was first conceptualized by a Greek philosopher named Aristippus who believed that maximizing pleasure is the fundamental objective of every human, Aristotle took a different view.
The hedonistic pursuit of pleasure can involve seeking physical and emotional satisfaction without concern for consequences. Moreover, while instantaneous pleasure might be achieved, the long-term effects could diminish wellness over time. Consuming intoxicating substances, gambling, overeating, or engaging in adrenaline-fueled activities, while initially pleasurable, might significantly compromise your health and well-being.
Aristotle believed that eudaemonia (the prefix “eu” means “good” and “daimon” means “guardian spirit”) was the true measure of personal satisfaction. Self-discipline, virtue, and personal growth might not generate feelings of immediate pleasure, but – unlike hedonism – they can facilitate a deeper sense of wellness and overall worth.
If you have taken an at-home DNA test, your results could reveal a bounty of fascinating genetic information. Simply access your raw DNA file from your testing provider and upload it to Genomelink for a comprehensive profile.
Find out on Genomelink if you have a genetic predisposition towards eudaimonism!