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Some people are born with a ‘talent for happiness’ – so what’s their secret?

Chloe Madley says her dad Richard has it: an irrepressible sense of joy no matter how grim the news or the weather. Intrigued, Polly Dunbar meets the experts who say any one of us can develop a ‘happiness advantage’

Saturday 14 October 2023 06:30 BST
Happy hour: as many as 972 genes could be involved in making us feel good
Happy hour: as many as 972 genes could be involved in making us feel good (iStock)

We all know someone. That person in the office or local cafe who always seems upbeat, no matter how grim the weather or horrifying the news. Are they just good at pretending – putting on a happy face to mask how they really feel? Or could happiness be something they genuinely possess more of than the rest of us?

In a recent interview, Chloe Madeley described her father, the irrepressible television presenter Richard, as having a “talent for happiness”; an innate propensity to see the world in a positive light. And, according to experts, there are those who really do have a biological advantage when it comes to contentment.

“Some people are just born happier than others,” says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. “We know from studies that identical twins have similar happiness levels, suggesting a genetic component.”

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