A recent study conducted by Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post found that Americans are statistically less miserable around Christmas. By plotting a Google search interest of the words “depression,” “anxiety,” “pain,” “stress” and “fatigue” into an index of misery, Ingraham was able to find the most and least terrible days of 2013.
Christmas was reportedly the least miserable day of the year, followed closely by Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Any college student can likely attest to these statistics. After a semester of studying and cramming for finals, there really is nothing better than Christmas with the family and, come January 1st, foggy memories of ringing in the New Year.
The study found that people more frequently search for “seasonal affective disorder” over “depression” or “anxiety” during the holidays. There is certainly holiday-related stress contributing to this, as stress levels increase throughout November and December, but the numbers fall far below the average on the actual holiday. What does this mean? The song is right: it’s the least miserable time of the year!
The studying also concluded that Tuesday and Wednesday are tied for the most miserable day of the week, which may come as a surprise for every college senior who dreads rolling out of bed on Monday morning. Most searches for the negative terms occur during the week and drop off as the weekend approaches. Since we are what we Google, this suggests that people are significantly happier during the weekend. Incidentally, as Christmas is on a Thursday this year--which is basically the weekend--it's a recipe for success.
Make the least-miserable day of the year into the best day ever by following these five tips:
1. Make Gifts
Not for yourself, but for everyone else. There is nothing more wonderful than a homemade, heartfelt gift, so spread the wealth this holiday season by showing the people that you love just how important they are to you. You'll feel good immediately upon giving the gift.
2. Take a Trip
You don’t have to be made of money to escape for a day with your best friend or a loved one. Taking a day trip downtown, to a neighboring city or to a park you’ve never visited before is a surefire way to spice up your day-to-day life and pump up those happy feelings.
3. Wear Velour
Deck yourself out in a fancy velour tracksuit and enjoy a tall glass of whiskey before noon. Happiness.
If eating a meal the size of a small child does not grant you happiness, you are to be neither trusted nor respected as a person.
5. Go for a Run
Apparently, exercise boosts endorphins that make people happy, and happy people just do not kill other people (specifically, barely-tolerable members of their extended family). So go run around your living room and get super happy. Or don’t, because exercise is gross.
The most miserable day of the year? April 23rd. That is two days before April 25th, which is the perfect date, because all you need is a light jacket. So at least we can look forward to that.