Germany has low unemployment, solid economic growth, and Oktoberfest ... but why are Germans so grumpy? Perhaps they've lost the "Joy DNA," according to researchers:
The main thing standing in their way is their own perfectionism. During hours of individual and group interviews, the researchers analyzed how 60 subjects felt pleasure. They also scrutinized the results of a representative survey of 1,000 men and women commissioned by the liquor companies Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
Among survey respondents, 81 percent said that they experience pleasure best when they have managed to achieve something first. "As the saying goes, business before pleasure," said 61-year-old female participant Wiltrud.
But this maxim doesn't seem to serve the Germans well -- they even feel burdened by the pressure to enjoy things. "People often told us that they would come home after a stressful day, but were unable to even say what they'd accomplished," Imdahl reported. "And then the people around them say, 'Hey, just relax.' Enjoyment then turns into an obligation."
Meanwhile, chances to create a sense of well-being lurk everywhere -- a glass of wine, a relaxing bubble bath, or a nice restaurant with delicious food. These, of all things, also rankle the Germans. "This glut of offerings pressures people into thinking, 'I must enjoy everything'," Imdahl says.