A few years ago, described a report of the work of psychologist Cliff Arnall, who found that the third Monday in January is the unhappiest day of the year. According to that study, we have two weeks yet to spiral down to the nadir of happiness. Today I learned that there is apparently some disagreement about the most dolorous day. News organizations are describing today as the most depressing day of the year. Again, British researchers were involved (it seems the British are more interested than the rest of us in unhappiness). These researchers looked at the content of tweets each day over the past three years and identified January 6 as the low point. A common theme in the tweets for this day was guilt over broken New Year’s resolutions. Also, a British organization that helps people file for divorce (Britain again!) has designated the first Monday in January as Divorce Monday, the day that divorce filings are highest.

So, which day is really the lowest day of the year? I’m not too happy about the weather today (snow, with wind chills to 30 below), but otherwise I’m feeling pretty good. I neither made any resolutions nor will file for divorce, so I guess that makes me a misery laggard.

There are a couple ironies about this story. First, the British researchers in the recent study were commissioned by a firm that makes a high-protein dairy drink named Upbeat. Why are Upbeat folks interested in unhappiness? Also, today happens to be the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus and ushering in the season of Epiphany, which will last until Lent. The term “epiphany” has to do with a manifestation or appearance of the divine, as in the manifestation of Christ’s divinity to the Magi. Thus, for me and millions of others for whom today is associated with God having become human, today is definitely day of joy.

epiphany