Science Has Good News for People Who Hate Everything

Not feeling the holiday season? Do your friends and family suck? Maybe you're feeling angry and hateful right now. Or, maybe you're feeling angry and hateful all the time.

Well, if that's the case, a little thing called "science" has some very good news. According to a study published Wednesday in the Lancet, happy people have absolutely no medical benefits over their miserable counterparts. The study, "Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective U.K, Million Woman Study," analyzed more than 700,000 middle-aged women and concluded that that "happiness and related measures of wellbeing do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality."

The findings are a big "screw you" to the longstanding belief that happy or self-contended people live longer than the gloomy and the grumps. "Good news for the grumpy," said Oxford University researcher Sir Richard Peto, summarizing his findings for the New York Times.

Bette Liu, an associate professor at Australia's University of New South Wales told Mic that rather than trying to promote good cheer, science and medicine should concentrate on things like prevention.

"We should focus on doing something about the things we know improve people's health, like reducing smoking rates," she told Mic. "That way we'll not only improve health but most probably also increase people's happiness."


The study is the latest study suggesting the grouches of the world have reason to, well, keep their chins up. Other studies have indicated that those who are depressed or suffer from mental illness are also likely to be more intelligent than the general population. "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know," Ernest Hemingway wrote in The Garden of Eden.

Author Barbara Ehrenreich attacked America's obsession with positive thinking in her book, Bright-sided, part of which documents her struggle with breast cancer. Ehrenreich wrote that a constant pressure to feel upbeat and happy actually had a contrary effect. In 2009, Ehrenreich told the New York Times that she was even encouraged to "consider your cancer a gift" by a well-wisher. 

So go ahead and embrace your inner curmudgeon. Seems that whether the glass is half empty or half full, you're just as likely to drown. 

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Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

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