Does attitude trump circumstances and genes when it comes to happiness?

Helen Bassett, strategic director at Soaring Worldwide, discusses whether the right attitude can trump circumstances.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit saps one’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Does attitude trump circumstances and genes when it comes to happiness? I believe it does as attitude can be controlled unlike circumstances and genes over which there is little or no control.

Easy to write sitting here on my comfortable bed in my warm house where everything seems possible. But how do we achieve a positive attitude? I like to think of it in terms of gardening. I am British after all and I love my small but promising patch of dirt.

I want to look out of my kitchen window and see the beauty, life and always changing garden I have created. To do that I must care and cultivate it. In the same way so must I with my attitude.

Preparing the ground, I must root out the weeds of negativity and poison, throw away the stones of self-doubt and sow the seeds of balanced optimism. What is needed to help the plants grow? Fertilisation: Sun, water, air and nutrients. All things we need to grow physically and mentally. We should fertilise our lives with actions that produce positive emotions and physical well-being.

The outcome? An emotionally rewarding crop and hopefully, but as in both cases I’m still learning, a garden that feeds the spirit.