Hey, are you in a good mood today? Well, knock it off — it’s going to kill you. It’s gonna kill you till you die, just like all the other things that you love, like sitting down, breathing air, and eating food. But apparently, according to science, happy people take more risks, and therefore have a shorter life expectancy than soulless, depressed curmudgeons. Read on for more dubious scientific explanations for why you need to stop being so freaking cheerful.
In addition to taking risks, happier people also make bad dietary decisions and choose unhealthier foods. (Because when you’re in a bad mood, you reach right for the broccoli and tofu, amirite? … No. That was sarcasm.) People who were considered “too cheerful” also invited violent reactions from less easygoing and upbeat people, putting them at a higher risk of physical harm.
And if you think you’re safe if you’re already safely depressed and only trying to be happy, think again:
Researchers also discovered that trying too hard to be happy often ended up leaving people feeling more depressed than before, as putting an effort into improving their mood often left people feeling cheated.
Magazine articles offering tips on how to be happy were also blamed for worsening modern day depression.
Yet another aspect of the study asked people to watch a positively-focused film to improve their moods, but rather than cheer themselves up, the subjects found themselves in a worse mood than before. Because the movie didn’t work.
Apparently, this “study” has been going on since the 1920s, following people who were children when the study started and observing their temperaments as they grew up. It’s also been published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science with the conclusion that the only true road to genuine happiness is “meaningful relationships with friends and family members.”
Professor June Gruber, co-author from the department of psychology at Yale University, said of people who actively tried to be happy: “When you’re doing it with the motivation or expectation that these things ought to make you happy, that can lead to disappointment and decreased happiness …
“That means the best way to increase your happiness is to stop worrying about being happy and instead divert your energy to nurturing the social bonds you have with other people.”
What she’s trying to say is that you need to become (or remain) a highly unpleasant person and then hang out with the people you love. Then — and only then — will you find true happiness. Your friends and family, on the other hand, might like you the tiniest bit less, then they’ll become depressed, and … oh, boy.
So, stop trying to do nice things for yourself. You have to just let it happen, without wanting it to happen. This is the anti-The Secret.
(But similarly to The Secret, absolutely none of this should be taken seriously.)
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