Nurture as Predictor of Happiness

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23 November 2015

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Nature versus Nurture as Predictor of Happiness


       Happiness is one trait that is quite difficult to define and explain in human beings since different people have different things which they feel brings happiness to them which may be the complete opposite in other people (Phoenix, 2007, pp.104). One thing that may raise positive emotions in one individual may raise the opposite negative emotions in another person, hence making it quite difficult to have a clear cut definition of happiness. This tends to raise the question of what exactly always makes one happy and what are the relative importances of nature versus nurture as predictor of happiness in human beings. According to Phoenix (2007), “The behavior of people and other animals cannot be understood without taking account of the influence of their environments as well as their biology” (Phoenix, 2007, p.104). This means that happiness as part of human beings can be an influence of nature or nurture as the main predictors of the happiness of an individual. People who conducted research and came up with the various cause of happiness or the predictors of happiness must have experienced happiness at one point during their lifetime (Spoors, et al, 2007, pp.5).

       This could simply indicate that every human being has the chance and opportunity of experiencing happiness in the life at one point. It is not quite easy to provide a straight forward definition of happiness which can be used in general at any time when there is reference to be made concerni8ng happiness. However, happiness may be said to be simply a form of mood which is affirmative and tends to cover a certain variety of emotions which may range from being delighted or even satisfied and conversely (Spoors, et al, 2007, pp.5). The above definition is totally opposed to the dichotomy, because the dichotomy is divided into two parts, for example, joy and sorrow, which are mutually exclusive and simultaneously create a whole. A proven example is a wedding the bride’s. Mother cries for daughter’s wedding, but simultaneously she has joy in it. This happiness is associated with feelings and emotions that people feel the depending on the situation in which they find themselves. In correlation with this, it can be accomplished of “happiness and unhappiness cannot be viewed as opposite or mutually exclusive” (Spoors, et al, 2007, pp.5).

       According to the assumptions of this concept, the pursuit of happiness, which you want each person is driven by human activities, and at the same time a source of satisfaction, fulfillment, and sometimes a sense of success. Therefore, the benefits associated with happiness include; better health, well-being, a lot greater activity level, willingness to help, and better relationships with others. People who are considered to be unhappy tend not to have the above mentioned emotions and they rarely display such emotions since they have not been able to experience happiness, or even the activities which causes happiness in human beings (Spoors, et al, 2007, pp.5).

       When a question is asked about what makes hu8mna beings happy, most of the people would put main focus on the kind of thoughts they have, the kind of relationships that they have which can include close relationships and those that are not close. Furthermore, the question on what makes one happy will also make one to put focus on the brains since it is the one that generates the thoughts which in turn are closely related to the relationships that people have. The factors which act as the determinants of happiness have nature and to some extent have nurture. A healthy lifestyle and a happy brain this nurture issues, because “in order for us to have a sense of wellbeing and happiness, our brains and bodies need a consistent source of food and oxygen” (Spoors at al., 2007, pp.26 – 9, material).

       Therefore, it can be agreed that the main causes of happiness which have been suggested as most common include the relationships, the brain and the thoughts. Spoors (2007) observes that for human beings to have a sense of happiness or even well being, they must be able to live a healthy lifestyle as well as have constant supply of oxygen for the functioning of the body and the brain. Furthermore, “Many people on high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diets have reported unusually high feelings of anger, tension and depression”, as observed by Spoors (2007). This means that for one to feel happy or have the sense of well being, they must have sufficient balanced diet and also constant supply of oxygen for a healthy body and a healthy brain.

       From research conducted by Davidson, people inherit some genes which make one have a genetic predisposition of happiness to a certain level, although this does not mean that there are people who are born unhappy or gloom while others are born happy (Spoors, et al, pp.26-9). According to Shakespeare (2005 edition), “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”, meaning that what one thinks greatly contributes to them being happy or not. People tend to focus on negative aspects of life whenever they feel they have low spirits. This in turn affects their happiness and instead leaves them feeling much worse. The natural environment where one lives and the kind of nurture and experiences in life contributes to the way one thinks and influences the thoughts that one has, which in turn have been observed to influence the happiness that an individual will display.

       This clearly indicates that the thoughts that people have play a major role in them being happy or unhappy. Ellen and Judy (1976) conducted a research and they found out that when people are able to control small issues that affect their life, they are in better position to enhance their happiness (Spoors et al, 2007, pp.53-7). From research which was conducted by Richard Layard (2005), it was observed that there are seven major factors which influence happiness in human beings but the main factor that was identified was close relationships. This same idea was supported by Robert Lane (2000, p. 6), who identified close relationships with families and friends to be great factor that increased human happiness (Spoors et al, 2007, pp.83-5). The views presented by the various researchers regarding the causes or the predictors of happiness are quite convincing considering the kind of research that they have presented is in-depth. Human beings do things because of how they feel and most of the actions are more influenced by nature and nurture, which in turn determines the happiness that human beings display. Therefore, it can be said that nature and nurture are both important determinants or the predictors of the happiness of human beings because they all have direct influence on the thoughts, the brain activities and the kind of relationships which people have during their lifetime.


Phoenix, A. (2007) ‘Identities and diversities’ in Miell, D., Phoenix, A. and Thomas, K. (eds) Mapping Psychology, p. 104.

Spoors, P., Finlay, L. and Dyer, E. (2007) Starting with Psychology p. 5; 26-9; 53-7; 83-5

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