DENMARK (Glossynews.com International) –A new study currently underway in Denmark could prove that prolonged exposure to darkness may improve symptoms of merriment and cheer in people who are “entirely too happy.”
While the evidence is inconclusive, researchers say that the study is promising for therapists who are losing dozens of potential patients to the inherent joy and positive nature of the Danish people.
It could also provide a huge relief for the entire nation, whose unbelievably cheery nature is ticking off depressed and dispirited countries around the globe.
Denmark’s population of optimistic people quadrupled in 2010, when it was voted the happiest country in the world. Danish researchers and behavioral specialists are working hard to reduce those numbers.
Dr. Margrethe Jensen, who heads the Danish Center for Poorer Health, says it is “really quite baffling how a country that gets so little light throughout the year can have so many happy f**ing people.” But she claims that DCPH specialists are doing everything they can to help people feel utterly hopeless again.
“Currently, most of the patients in our study don’t take pleasure in activities they used to find enjoyable, but we’d like to get them to that next level of complete despair,” Dr. Jensen told Glossynews reporters, “We have been reluctant to treat people with depressants, such as alcohol and fatty foods, since they tend to be costly. Darkness therapy seemed to be the only reasonable response to the dwindling numbers of cynics in the country.”
Originally, the six-week study consisted of 35 participants who were told to sit in a room—preferably one with bare or paint-chipped walls—with the curtains closed for at least five consecutive hours a day. Half of the participants were randomly chosen to be in the placebo group. This group was given a daily dose of a pink liquid substance, which they were told contained the pro-depressant, Noloft™.
“It’s just Pepto-Bismol and a non-alcoholic mint liqueur to mask the flavor,” says one researcher, “but they gulp it down as if it were laced with blow. Actually, it’s really f**ing funny to watch.”
One month into the study, only 12 participants remain at the center for the final two weeks of research. Some of the original participants skewed the results and were disqualified because they thought it would be more fun to use alcohol to increase their misery and to remain trapped in a funk. But most quit the study because they decided that ultimately nothing was going to get them down.
Thirty-five-year-old graphic designer, Ana Soren, quit because she couldn’t “see the f**ing point” in the research. “It’s complete bollocks if you ask me,” Soren claims, “I mean, look around you, this country is filled with people who are chronically happy. A little darkness isn’t going to cure the irrational optimism afflicting the majority of Danes.”
At this point in the study, 5 out of the 8 remaining participants in the control group say that they feel 50 percent more dismal than before, compared to the final 4 participants in the placebo group, who say that despite their regular bowel movements and peculiar craving for Mint Juleps, they only feel slightly fatigued and experience very little difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
All participants actually look forward to getting up and going to work every morning, and none of the participants report any feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.
Dr. Jensen admits that while there are no known positive side-effects to darkness therapy, it does have its drawbacks. “It takes a lot of motivation to sit in darkness for five hours a day, and we’re afraid this could only remind patients how energetic and full of rigor they really are,” Dr. Jensen says, adding, “However, we are hoping that the prolonged exposure to darkness will balance these feelings with the false belief that their lives are pointless, and that nothing they do ultimately matters when they sit down and really think about the larger picture.”
Jensen and her crew are already planning future studies on what causes happiness, which will include a close examination of symptoms such as feelings of self-worth and a sense of purpose, a strong distaste of satirical humor, sudden increase in libido, uncontrollable laughter, and general giddiness.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jensen advises optimists not to let their contentment and good spirits go untreated. “Cheerfulness should not be ignored,” warns Dr. Jensen, “If you start to experience any signs of joy, delight, pleasure, and especially exuberance, you should see your doctor.”
Dr. Jensen also recommends calling the 24-hour Gleeful Hotline for those who feel exceptionally blissful and need more immediate attention, “The hotline is anonymous and gives you the opportunity to speak with someone who can talk you down from your natural euphoria.”
“Ultimately,” Jensen concludes, “if your heightened sense of well-being is affecting your ability to hate your life, your job, or to have a normal case of the g*damn blues, then that’s not an acceptable level of happiness. You need to take your felicity seriously.”