Posted by: Didapper PJ26 JAN 2012
Hooray! We are about to enter February, which recent research suggests is the happiest month of the year — which is just as well, because the two months we have just gone through are apparently the year’s unhappiest, despite (or because of?) all the seasonal celebrations.
The research findings come from a survey carried out during 2011 by Moodscope, a website that enables people to measure, track and share their daily mood. The research was restricted to scores recorded by those using the service for the first time but, even so, the findings involved nearly 14,000 people because of a rapid growth in the popularity of the site during the year.
Why first-timers only? Because of the Hawthorne effect, through which continued monitoring tends to improve performance. For example, dieters who weigh themselves daily tend to lose weight faster, while joggers who start using a pedometer tend to run significantly further.
Moodscope’s philosophy is that you can use this effect to improve your mood. You measure your mood using a version of an established test that asks you to rate yourself on 20 factors such as nervousness, enthusiasm, pride, shame, alertness, strength and guilt. The 20 individual ratings are used to produce an overall happiness percentage score.
Moodscope found that on average the unhappiest day in 2011 was Monday 3 January, even though that day was a bank holiday. This finding, from quantified research, is at odds with the untested “blue Monday” theory, which suggests that people are at their gloomiest on a Monday in late January.
Moodscope’s research is now being evaluated by King’s College Institute of Psychiatry.