STANFORD, CA—Saying their findings were consistent across all ages and demographic groups, psychologists at Stanford University released a groundbreaking report this week confirming that feeling bad right now is an extremely accurate predictor of feeling bad forever.
The report, which draws its conclusions from a longitudinal study of 500 participants conducted over the course of 30 years, found a nearly perfect correlation between experiencing sadness, anger, loneliness, and despair at the current moment and then continuing to experience those exact same emotions for the rest of one’s life no matter what.
“Based on our findings, we can state with a high level of certainty that anyone who feels miserable at the present time will, from this moment onward, always feel miserable,” said the report’s co-author Danielle Bowman, adding that researchers observed zero cases in which a subject’s feelings of sorrow or hopelessness ever went away in the short or long term. “For example, if, at the moment, you are desperately lonely and depressed, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests you will still feel that way when you wake up tomorrow, the day after that, a month from now, in five years, and indeed, every single waking second until you die.”
“There were, however, several instances in which people’s emotional states did eventually change,” Bowman continued. “In roughly 31 percent of cases, people began to feel much worse over the years.”
According to the study, individuals who currently struggle with feelings of worthlessness and believe there is no way anyone could ever really love them have a 99.8 percent chance of maintaining that state of mind for the remainder of their natural lives. Similarly, the results indicated a state of anguish will be permanent for 99.6 percent of those suffering from a sense that their life is headed in the wrong direction and there is nothing they can do to stop it.
The study, which began with clinical trials and field observations in 1986, also concluded that anyone who at any point became anxious or melancholy never again experienced happiness in any form, regardless of any changes in their exercise habits, diet, psychological or pharmacological treatments, relationship status, or employment situation.
In addition, the report’s authors recommended that if you feel bad at present, you should simply save yourself further trouble by abandoning any hope of things ever getting better.
Greg Hudson, a participant in the study who said he hasn’t felt a pleasant or even neutral emotion since the 1990s, told reporters he agreed with the researchers’ recommendation.
“About 20 years ago, I was going through a hard time both at work and at home, putting in too many hours and having difficulty getting along with my boss while at the same time dealing with some marital stress,” said Hudson, a visibly weary man now in his 50s. “Just waking up and getting out of bed every day was like torture. That was in 1997, and I can honestly say that today, after all these years, I feel every bit as awful as I did back then. At no point has anything changed. Ever.”
The study also found strong evidence to suggest that feelings of pure joy can be expected to dissipate completely within one to two seconds after they first appear.