Emotions: How to Find Deeper Fulfillment
By Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph.D.,
Authors of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being
Emotions are a vast subject, but there’s one statement that holds true for everyone. The most desirable emotional state is happiness. Even though happiness is a mental state, the body is deeply affected by our moods. Chemical messages tell every cell how you feel. In its own way a cell can be happy or sad, agitated or content, joyous or despairing. The super genome amply confirms this fact. If your stomach has ever tightened from fear, the “gut brain” is eavesdropping on your emotion, and when depression afflicts several generations in a family, epigenetic marks may be playing a key role. Most polls find that around 80 percent of people describe themselves as happy, and yet other research indicated that at best around 30 percent of people are actually thriving, while rates of depression, anxiety, and stress continue to rise.
It is highly unlikely that a “happiness gene” will ever be discovered. As discussed in our new book, Super Genes. The new genetics tells us that in complex diseases like cancer hundreds of separate genetic mutations are likely involved. Emotions are much more complex than any disease. But we don’t need to discover the happiness gene. Instead, we should give as much positive input to the super genome as possible, trusting it to produce positive output. Science may take decades to correlate the complex gene activity that produces happiness; in the meantime, the super genome connects all the input that life brings us.
Let’s contrast the kind of input that promotes beneficial gene activity with the kind that creates damage. Both lists contain items you are quite familiar with by now, but it’s good to see everything gathered together.
Positive Input to the Super Genome
12 things that reinforce happiness
- Love and affection
- Satisfying work
- Creative outlets
- Being appreciated
- Being of service
- Healthy food, water, and air
- Setting long-range goals
- Physical fitness
- Regular routine free of stress
It’s hard to imagine that someone whose life contains these things on a daily basis wouldn’t be happy. By the same token, the things that the super genome reads as negative must be avoided.
Negative Input to the Super Genome
14 things that damage happiness
- Toxic relationships
- Boring, unsatisfying work
- Being ignored and taken for granted
- Constant distractions during the day
- Sedentary habits
- Negative beliefs, pessimism
- Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
- Eating when you’re already full
- Processed foods and fast food
- Physical illness, especially if painful
- Anxiety and worry
- Unhappy friends
The two sides of human experience constantly vie for our attention, and it must be admitted that for most people, the scars of negative experience are hard to heal. Adding positive input certainly helps — if you were unloved as a child, being loved as an adult makes a huge difference. But happiness will never be bioengineered. Until we reach Part III, on consciousness and the genome, the mystery of emotions will remain a mystery. The lifestyle choices we offer are worthwhile. Make no mistake about that. But the trail of clues leads farther.
Reprinted from SUPER GENES. Copyright © 2015 by Deepak Chopra, D.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Deepak Chopra M.D., co-author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being, is a pioneer of integrative medicine and the author of more than 80 books published in 43 languages. Many have been New York Times bestsellers in both the fiction and nonfiction categories.
Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph.D., co-author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being, is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor at Harvard University and Mass. General Hospital. Dr. Tanzi is an internationally acclaimed expert on Alzheimer’s disease and was included in TIME magazine’s “TIME 100 Most Influential people in the World.”