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Happiness is... an equation

Researchers have packaged happiness
Researchers have packaged happiness

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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- If you're happy and you know it, then it is clearly a result of: P + 5E + 3H.

A pair of British researchers said Monday they had worked out a simple equation to quantify happiness that could put an exact figure on the emotional state.

After interviewing 1,000 people, the researchers -- a psychologist and a self-styled "life coach" -- concluded that happiness equals P + 5E + 3H.

In the equation, P stands for Personal Characteristics (outlook on life, adaptability and resilience); E for Existence (health, friendships and financial stability) and H represents Higher Order (self-esteem, expectations and ambitions).

Psychologist Carol Rothwell co-authored the report with Pete Cohen. They asked interviewees -- a mix of men and women all over 18-years-old -- to choose five scenarios that made them more happy or less happy from a list of 80 different situations.

They also asked a series of questions about their own natures, outlooks and situations.

Not surprisingly, the results showed that men and women found happiness in different ways.

Sunny weather, being with family and losing weight were more of an influence on women's happiness, while romance, sex, hobbies and victories by their favourite sports teams were more important to men.

"This is the first equation that enables people to put a figure on their emotional state," Rothwell said. "The findings show that certain events, such as job promotion, can impact positively on your overall happiness."

The study was commissioned by a holiday company that wanted to understand what made people happier.

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