Wanting to be happier is a universal trait. It’s rare to find a person whose reply to, “How would you like to feel today?” is, “Morose, please.”
The scientific study of happiness (aka positive psychology) has mushroomed over the last two decades. Major research institutions have taken on substantial and often thought-provoking forays into the joy of joy, with surprising and often enlightening results.
One such study took place in the UK, where researchers used electromagnetic brain scans and heart-rate monitors to generate what they called “mood-boosting values” for different stimuli. In other words, they had participants do, look at, or listen to different things, and measured how happy it made them.
One thing trumped all else. It emerged as giving participants the equivalent level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars. It was just as stimulating as receiving up to $25,000.
What was this magic stimulus?