What is the key to happiness? We look at the science behind it.

young child sits at a dining table surrounded by adults who laugh and clap for her as she blows out birthday candles on a cake.

Is there a key to happiness? It’s among humanity’s biggest questions and one that we still don’t fully know the answer to. While scientists are getting closer to pinpointing certain factors that may increase happiness, there are several reasons why finding a universal formula isn’t straightforward. 

Happiness is a complex phenomenon that is difficult to define and measure in an objective way. Sam Jahara (opens in new tab), a psychotherapist at Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy in the U.K., told Live Science that happiness is usually linked to feelings of joy, ease and gratitude. Happy people often have a positive outlook on their life, both past and present and despite negative circumstances, and they look forward to the future, she said. 

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