Slogans such as ‘the happiest day of the year’ – or its opposite ‘saddest day of the year’ or blue monday – generate mistrust, because their existence is more a matter of marketing than science.
The case of blue monday is the best example of a successful advertising campaign: there is no scientific proof that the third Monday in January would be a more unhappy day for the majority of the population in the northern hemisphere. The origin of this concept took place in 2005 and was the result of an advertising campaign devised by the Sky Travel company; For her, researcher Cliff Arnall designed an equation, among which variables were bad weather, remoteness from vacations and extra expenses.
The same happens with the one known as yellow day : Arnall concluded that June 20 would be the ‘happiest day of the year’, because on this date certain parameters converge that could make us feel more animated.
However, although both blue monday and yellow day are only the result of individual business communication strategies, with little or no scientific rigor, there are certain parameters that could attribute a certain scientific solidity, at least, to certain times of the year in which they would predominate conflicting feelings.
Why are we happier in summer and sadder in winter?
Precisely the ‘yellow day’ (June 20) is the day with the most hours of sunlight of the year (15 maximum) in the northern hemisphere, in addition to coinciding with the arrival of summer, the June solstice. According to a team of meteorologists and psychologists from eltiempo.es, this circumstance, along with others such as the arrival of the extra pay, the pleasant temperatures … could help most of the population to be more animated than usual.
The ‘happiness hormone’ and its relationship with sunlight
A quick search in scientific libraries like PubMed is enough to discover many studies that link the amount of natural light with the production of serotonin, traditionally known as the ‘happiness hormone’. Specifically, high levels of serotonin are related to a better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calm; and the lower levels are correlated with depression and anxiety.
In fact, even the low levels of vitamin D (whose assimilation is induced thanks to the ultraviolet rays of the Sun) determine the so-called ‘seasonal affective disorder’, a mood drop that occurs in autumn and winter and affects up to 10% of the population. Those who suffer from it have the same symptoms every year and at the same time, when the daylight hours are shortened.
Happiness: a subjective, relative and multi-causal experience
Despite the arguments that we can make in favor of an improvement in the mood in summer in the general population, there is no scientific consensus that there is a certain time of year (and even less, a specific day; in this case, the yellow day ) who is particularly happier than the rest.
The concept of happiness is not subject to scientific terms : it is subjective and depends on many variables, such as general health, socioeconomic status, self-esteem, social support … as well as the personal aspirations of each individual.
Maslow’s pyramid: an alternative to unscientific concepts like yellow day
If you still want to establish a reference point from which to ‘measure’ (if this were possible) your levels of happiness, we propose an alternative. Maslow’s pyramid – named after its theorist, the psychologist and philosopher Abraham Maslow – is a series of staggered and grouped needs. This pyramid is climbing steps by natural tendency of the human being, which is covering the most imperative needs in order.
Maslow formulated a hierarchy of human needs defending the hypothesis that, as basic needs are satisfied, people develop higher desires.