What determines Happiness

Sonja Lyubomirsky,Ph.D.,one of the world's top experts on the science of happiness, discusses what happiness is, why it matters, and gives research-tested strategies for boosting happiness in everyday life. Sonja is a professor of psychology at UC Riverside and the author of the best-selling book, The How of Happiness. Dr. Lyubomirsky is a leader in the field of positive psychology. For more information please visit Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

Nataly Kogan, Happier CEO, to speak at

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Project 40 is honored to have Nataly Kogan, the Co-Founder and CEO of Happier, at Wentworth Institute of Technology on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 5pm in Blount Auditorium to speak to our community.


Nataly will be talking to our students about what unconditional joy is, how to find it through simple practice, and why it’s the most important thing you can do to live a meaningful and successful life.


Thousands of scientific studies have shown the powerful benefits of being happier -- from decreased stress and anxiety, increased productivity, creativity and capacity to learn, to lower chances of heart attacks, strokes and the flu. And yet most of us are chasing the wrong kind of happiness, one that is dependent on outside factors (like achievements or money) and is by nature ephemeral, always leaving us to feel unfulfilled.

Based on research, the study of yoga and Buddhism, and helping more than 1 million people improve their well-being through Happier, a leading wellness company she co-founded, Nataly has developed a simple methodology through which anyone can develop unconditional joy and live a fulfilling, meaningful life. She shares her personal experiences and this simple practice in her powerful talk, which will inspire you and arm you with specific, practical ways to make this important practice part of your daily life.

About Nataly Kogan

Nataly is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach, and author on a mission to help people turn ordinary moments into extraordinary, and transform their lives into meaningful, fulfilling journeys.


Nataly is the co-founder and CEO of Happier, a leading wellness company that has grown into a movement to make millions of people happier through practicing gratitude and kindness. Through Happier, Nataly has inspired more than 1 million people to be present for the small, awesome moments that are already part of their lives and become more optimistic, less stressed, and better equipped to deal with daily challenges at work and at home.


Nataly has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Magazine, Time, The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, Bloomberg and “One World” with Deepak Chopra. She is a sought-out speaker and expert on happiness and gratitude, appearing at TEDxBoston, Fortune's Tech Brainstorm, Blogher, SXSW, The 92nd St. Y, Harvard Women's Leadership Conference and many others.


Nataly immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 13 years old -- with $600 and six suitcases in tow -- and learned first-hand that it’s possible to find small happy moments in even the most difficult of circumstances. Her initial failed attempts to find happiness by chasing achievements and success led her to dive into scientific research on happiness, study Buddhism and yoga, and experiment with many different habits to create a simple methodology that leads to happiness that is genuine, lasting, and not dependent on chasing and getting “the next big thing.” Inspired by her own transformation, Nataly is on a quest to help people nurture this kind of unconditional joy within themselves, and to stop saying “I’ll be happy when…” and start saying “I’m happier now because...”


Prior to Happier, Nataly held top positions at Manhattan-based firms McKinsey and Co. and Hudson Ventures; launched her own publishing company; wrote a book (“The Daring Female’s Guide to Ecstatic Living,” published by Hyperion in 2006); founded a leading online community for working mothers (Workitmom.com); worked at Microsoft’s state-of-the-art Future of Social Experiences Lab (FUSE), and was the Vice President of Consumer Experience at WHERE (which she helped sell to PayPal in 2011).


Nataly lives in Boston with her husband and daughter but forever remains a New Yorker at heart. Wearing orange and stripes, overusing the word “awesome,” painting and doing art projects with her daughter, collecting large rings, and finding the next amazing food spot make her happier. Nataly graduated from Wesleyan University with High and University Honors, having majored in the College of Social Studies. She speaks five languages and can do a killer headstand, which took her five years to find the guts to attempt.


Project 40 is an exciting new campus wide program based on research showing that increasing ones happiness and joy is possible and can have a significant impact on one’s life.


In discussing happiness, it’s important to keep in mind that happiness is a continuum, ranging from basic contentment to significant joy.  Happiness is a very personal state and will look different for each of us. However, there is significant research supporting the idea that individuals can take steps to increase their general level of happiness.  No one is happy all the time, but happier people usually weather the difficult times easier than others and are able to recover faster from setbacks.


We hope you will take the time to read the resources available on this website and consider taking part in the Project 40 program this year.


Watch this 3-part Happy Hack series to learn more:

What is Happiness?

Obstacles to Happiness

What is Project 40?