Study: Happiness Is a Stiff Drink

Drinking makes you happier in the moment, but the effect isn't long-term. Credit: Getty Images

Yes, drinking too much is bad for your liver, brain, heart, and waistline. But there's now a scientific reason why we love to imbibe: It’s fun.

A recent study published in Social Science and Medicine found a precise metric of just how fun getting drunk is. "Drinking alcohol is associated with considerably greater happiness at that moment — 10.79 points on a 0–100 scale," the researchers found. That means that the minute you pour yourself a drink, you’re 11 percent happier.

For their research, scientists collected data from a U.K. app called Mappiness, which pings users randomly during the day and allows them to rate their happiness on a scale of one to 100. The app also asks users what they were doing and who they were with at the time. The data was composed from 2 million responses from over 31,000 people on the app from 2010.

But even though it’s easy to attribute your laughs and good times at the bar just on the alcohol, other factors — such as what you’re doing or who’s around — matters. According to findings, “drinking had the greatest impact when it came alongside otherwise unenjoyable activities (traveling/commuting, waiting), and only increased the happiness of already enjoyable activities by smaller amounts (socializing, sex)."

Additionally, the happiness boost you experience is short-lived. When this study was compared to similar past research, scientists found that while alcohol consumption was associated with short-term happiness, it was not linked to long-term satisfaction.