Is It Better To Be Grumpier Or Happier?

People are always being told to be happier, whether it's inspirational quotes on social media or people on television telling you to just relax.

There is even a happiness index that determines how happy a country is, and apparently the happiest country this year is Finland - the previous three were Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden (obviously).

Is happiness always best, though?

Apparently, part of the reason why business leaders like the late Steve Jobs and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos were so successful is that they were known to have an angry side.

According to the BBC, on average, the crankier you are the more chance you have of being a good negotiator, a better decision maker, and also - perhaps surprisingly - you also have a lower chance of having a heart attack.

They also say that the most grumpy in society have steadier marriages and can expect to earn more.

Whereas, according to a study, those who are more positive and happy-go-lucky can be slightly more gullible and can take part in 'riskier behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, binge eating, and drug use'.


This doesn't mean 'just go out and be a dick to people and you'll magically turn into a success'. That's not how this works.

However, in 2009 a study carried out at the University of Amsterdam suggested that being angrier can help people think outside the box and become more creative.

As part of the study Matthijas Baas took on a group of students and tried to make them as angry as possible.

Splitting them in two groups he made one half write about a time that they were very angry, while the other half were made sad. They then both had to come up with ways of making education in the psychology department.

The angrier group came up with more ways of improving the department, which were also more original.

The exercise showed that being angry allows for 'less structured' thinking which can lead to more creativity.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is said to had outbursts at staff. Credit: PA
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is said to had outbursts at staff. Credit: PA

Baas said: "Anger really prepares the body to mobilise resources - it tells you that the situation you're in is bad and gives you an energetic boost to get you out of it."

A study in 2010 also found that suppressing anger could have a negative impact on patients' health.

As well as affecting physical health, scientists have also looked into how being grumpier can have a positive effect on cognitive abilities such as our memory and language skills.

Joseph Fargas has been researching how emotions impact on behaviour.

He said: "Negative moods indicate we're in a new and challenging situation and call for a more attentive, detailed and observant thinking style."

Maybe there is truth in the saying that nice guys finish last.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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