Have you ever wondered why some people stay happier despite having limited means to enjoy the good things in life? The secret may lie in having more gray matter mass in a brain region, according to a new research.
People who feel happiness more intensely, and are more able to find meaning in life have a larger precuneus — a region in the medial parietal lobe that becomes active when experiencing consciousness, the findings showed.
“Several studies show that meditation increases grey matter mass in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research,” said study lead author Wataru Sato from Kyoto University in Japan.
The researchers scanned the brains of participants with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The participants then took a survey that asked how happy they are generally, how intensely they feel emotions, and how satisfied they are with their lives.
The study revealed that happiness is a combination of happy emotions and satisfaction of life coming together in the precuneus.
Those who scored higher on the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus.
“I am very happy that we now know more about what it means to be happy,” Sato noted.