Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | 1,281 day ago

Does Being Happy Cause Bad Luck and Resentment?

The Debrief: Do you worry you’ll jinx yourself if you’re too happy? You’re not alone

We’ve all been there before - refusing to speculate that an interview, date or exam went well just in case we jinx it. But would you ever actively stop yourself from feeling happy in case it brought you bad luck? Apparently a lot of people do.

According to research, millions of people across the globe back away from positive feelings because they think it will give them bad luck and cause resentment from others. Which is weird because we thought no one liked hanging out with sourpusses.

In the recently published Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies, psychologists Dr Mohsen Joshanloo and Dr Dan Weijers said: "Many individuals and cultures do tend to be averse to some forms of happiness, especially when taken to the extreme, for many different reasons.

"Some of the beliefs about the negative consequences of happiness seem to be exaggerations, often spurred by superstition or timeless advice on how to enjoy a pleasant or prosperous life.

"However, considering the inevitable individual differences in regards to even dominant cultural trends, no culture can be expected to unanimously hold any of these beliefs.”

The researchers from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand add that being brought up in a culture that doesn't value happiness could make a person shy away from it. While the act of avoiding the emotion exists globally, happiness is more valued in the West. For instance, the research points towards other studies which have shown that East Asians are more likely to believe it’s inappropriate to be too chirpy all the time. 

We’d feel pleased that we’re not the only one being so ridiculously self-aware, but if we crack a smile it might be construed as smugness or result in something terrible happening later. 

What do you think? Are you worried about jinxing tonight's date if you look forward to it?

Picture credit: Summit Entertainment