According to science, there's a reason why you hate New Year's Eve
December 31st is considered a time for celebration, with the close of one year and the beginning of another. Possibilities are endless, champagne is free-flowing – what’s not to love, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always so joyous. Many actually despise this holiday for some reason. Why so much hate for a seemingly glitzy and fun holiday? Let us explain. There are scientific reasons why you hate New Year’s Eve, and they actually make so much sense.
As if you needed the reminder: New Year’s is right around the corner. Whether you’ve got a fancy New Year’s Eve night out planned, watching the ball drop or celebrating somewhere with friends, or plan to spend it curled up in bed with one of 2016’s best books, there is virtually no way to ignore the holiday. You’re gonna see it. In all likelihood, you’re gonna hear it, too. It’s one of the few days of the year that nearly everyone celebrates, with no religious ties to it.
No one can blame you for feeling a little less than enthusiastic about this particular New Year. It’s widely accepted that 2016 has been a garbage fire of a year. But, as it turns out, there are specific reasons why New Year’s Eve, generally, inspires less-than-celebratory feelings.
AsapSCIENCE, a YouTube channel created by Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown with “your weekly dose of fun and interesting science,” put together a nifty video explaining “why your New Year’s will suck.” And it’s… eye-opening.
The video explains that, while many look forward to the holiday, there are “some interesting, legitimate reasons” why it winds up being a mega-disappointment. Seven reasons, to be precise.
Imagining the future was once an evolutionary survival tactic — according to the video — and it came in handy while we were out hunting for dinner and trying not to get eaten.
Nowadays, unfortunately, our expectations of the future can lead us to disappointment. Even if New Year’s Eve isn’t necessarily a downer, it feels like one because we thought we’d have a better time. 83% of participants in a study cited by the video reported feeling let down by their New Year’s Eve plans – because they had less fun than they expected.
2Trying too hard.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re trying too hard to have a good time, the reverse might happen. Scientifically, in another study cited by the video, when scientists instruct people to be happy while listening to music, they actually wind up less happy than those who go in with no preconceived instructions.
3The optimism bias.
Similar to the “expectations” issue, being naturally biased towards the most optimistic outcome leads to a letdown.
Reflecting on the year past might seem like a good idea in theory. Unfortunately, the video points out that doing so can trigger existential crises and also ramp up stress levels. Whoops.
Remember that free-flowing champagne mention from earlier? Maybe not the best idea after all. Physically, alcohol does a lot of things to our bodies. One of those things is disrupting the body’s limbic system, which controls our feelings. A disrupted limbic system can leave us “more prone to mood swings and potentially amplified feelings of sadness.”
New Year’s is a pricey night to go out. It might be the priciest of the entire year, particularly if you live in a big city. It’s stereotypically a heavy-drinking holiday, so there are Uber surges galore.
Surprisingly, according to the science cited in the video, the actual amount you spend doesn’t necessarily correlate with negative feelings about cost. Uber’s head of economic research found that when surge prices rose from 1.9% to 2.0%, people were less likely to accept a ride than if the surge price went from 2.0% to 2.1%. Meaning, though 2.1% is technically more, the change from 1 to 2 bothers people more. Odd.
If you’ve already got someone to smooch at midnight, awesome! If you don’t, AsapSCIENCE points out that you may not feel it’s worth seeking out a stranger for the 80 million bacteria you’ll swamp with them in a mere ten second kiss. Gag.
Admittedly, all this bad news courtesy of our friend Science is kind of a downer. Luckily, NYE is a mere 0.273972603% of your whole year. In other words, it doesn’t have a huge bearing on your life, or even your year. Don’t stress it, and have as much fun as you can.