June 19th was the happiest day of the year for the British, according to Dr. Cliff Arnall, a lecturerer at Cardiff University.Dr. Arnall , a 44-year old psychologist, thinks that British spirits will have been boosted by the sunny start to summer, the longest days of the year, the nearing of payday – and optimism that Andy Murray could win Wimbledon! That last factor may need some explanation. The last Briton to win Wimbledon was Fred Perry who won three times in 1934,1935 and 1936 . Since then , the closest an Englishman has come to winning was Tim Henman who reached the Wimbledon semifinals four times. This year, Andy Murray has a clear path to the final since Rafael Nadal who was in his half of the draw has withdrawn ; Murray will not run up against Federer until the final, if then.
Dr Arnall, 44, said that what makes us happy is enjoying time with friends and loves ones, appreciating nature in the sunshine and looking forward to the weekend and a holiday. He also said people should forget credit crunch worries because the secret of happiness lies with things which are free.
But what about us Americans ? Which would we think of as the happiest day of our year ? My choice would be July 4th, not so much because it is Independence Day but because it satisfies most of Dr. Arnalls criteria. It is a holiday. It is usually spent outdoors in the company of family and friends , either grilling or picnicking and the weather is almost always nice and sunny. It is also a day of abundance with plenty of food and drink. In fact July 4th is the day when the maximum amount of beer is downed.
My two runners -up for Happiest Day of the Year are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, each of which has its own drawbacks. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when families try to get together no matter how far apart they live but it is a time of excess which invariably leaves us all feeling bloated. It is also celebrated indoorsrather than outside in the midst of Nature.The weather is just turning cold and we are all too aware that winter is around the corner. Christmas Day is similar but it has the additional drawback that many of us overspend on gifts to our dear ones.
Comparing the three there is no doubt in my mind that that July 4th is the clear winner.