If you are reading this article, it’s probably because you enjoy drinking alcohol. Well, at least every now and then. And if you drink every now and then you’ve probably been lectured on the negative implications of alcohol not to mention the issues arising from activities like drinking and driving. With so much negative discussion about alcohol, why do people still drink it? Our answer: it’s good for the soul.
Drinking does wonders for the soul. It helps people take a load off and relax. It helps people reduce their stress levels. It allows people to have fun when they’re over concerned with issues regarding work, family, friends, etc. Thus, drinking may have negative health implications, especially if over consumed, but in moderation it can make for a healthier lifestyle.
To prove this, scientists based in England created an app – the Mappiness app – to help them research whether or not happiness levels are directly associated with drinking. The app pings the user throughout the day and asks them how happy they are on a scale of 1 to 100 – for some this may sound absolutely brutal, who wants to be asked how happy they are when they’re feeling unhappy? Not normal folks, that’s for sure. But, they somehow got 31,000 people to use the app between 2010 and 2013, generating over 2 million responses and allowing them to compile an enormous data set.
With this data set the scientists uncovered, to the surprise of no one that drinks, that happiness levels increase when people consume alcohol. With this discovery the scientists took the research to the next level: they analyzed whether specific activities affected the amount of happiness derived from drinking. To do this, the Mapiness app asked its users what they were doing and who they were doing it with. Upon this development, the scientists found out that drinking has different effects on levels of happiness depending on what activity the drinker is involved in. It’s most effective when drinkers are doing boring activities, such as commuting and waiting, and least effective when they’re doing stimulating activities, such as socializing, engaging with art, and making love. In short, drinking makes fun activities only a bit more enjoyable while it significantly eases the pain of doing unwanted activities.
Lastly, the scientists found that drinking only increases happiness levels for a short period of time. This means that it boosts happiness in the short-term, but does not do anything to contribute in the long term. Also, if drinkers become reliant on alcohol to boost their happiness, it can actually make them less happy.
In conclusion, this research essentially confirms what we already knew: that drinking is fun, stimulating, and healthy in moderation and can quickly become none of those things when used excessively.