The Formula For Happiness

Researchers have developed one, and it’s as complex as you’d expect:

In a study published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of British neuroscientists created an equation that they say accurately predicted the short-term happiness of more than 18,000 people by comparing their expectations of an event to its real-life outcomes. Here’s what that looks like:


And, in case the sight of alarmingly long equations doesn’t make you happy, here’s what it boils down to: Happiness “doesn’t depend on how things are going,” says lead study author Robb Rutledge of University College London. “It depends on whether things are going better or worse than you had expected they would.”