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Tim HuttonTim Hutton - 2013-08-12 14:16:43+0000 - Updated: 2013-08-12 14:16:43+0000
Originally shared by Wayne RadinskyMeaning is healthier than happiness. "When people feel lonely, are grieving the loss of a loved one, or are struggling to make ends meet, their bodies go into threat mode. This triggers the activation of a stress-related gene pattern that has two features: an increase in the activity of proinflammatory genes and a decrease in the activity of genes involved in anti-viral responses.

"You have a forward-looking immune system. If you have a long track record of adversity, it prepares you for bacterial infections. For our ancestors, loneliness and adversity were associated with bacterial infections from wounds with predators and fights with conspecifics." "On the other hand, if you are doing well and having a lot of healthy social connections, your immune system shifts forward to prepare you for viruses, which you're more likely to contract if you're interacting with a lot of people."

"What does this have to do with happiness? Cole and Fredrickson found that people who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives -- proverbially, simply here for the party -- have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity."

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

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Doug Hackworth - 2013-08-12 15:30:34+0000
Very interesting. It strikes me there's room here for semantic hair-splitting about the meaning of the word "happiness," for those who wish to engage in it, but the authors' essential point is clear. Good and relevant research.

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