Quote Origin: Every Minute You Are Angry, You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness

Ralph Waldo Emerson? Mary Pickford? Irving Hoffman? Office Cat? Junius? Anonymous?

Question for Quote Investigator: A constant stream of social media and news updates is available to each of us. It is easy to seek out material which induces anger, yet the value of continuously inflicting aggravation and anguish upon oneself is unclear. Here are two versions of a pertinent adage:

(1) Every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.
(2) Every moment you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of joy.

The influential transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson has received credit for this saying, but I have never seen a solid citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Reply from Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Placer Herald” of Auburn, California on February 3, 1934. The text below occurred as a short filler item. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[ref] 1934 February 3, The Placer Herald, (Untitled filler item), Quote Page 1, Column 6, Auburn, Placer County, California. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

Every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

The term “selected” meant that the statement had been reprinted from an unnamed book or periodical. None of the early instances found by QI provided an ascription. Thus, the originator remains anonymous.

Ralph Waldo Emerson who died in 1882 received credit by 1955. The long delay and the lack of a contemporary source means that the supporting evidence for the attribution to Emerson is not substantive at this time.

Additional details are available in the article on the Medium platform which is available here.

Image Notes: Illustration of a clock with waves symbolizing intense activity from Gerd Altmann at Pixabay. Image has been cropped and resized.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Nick Prudent and Z Zoccolante whose twitter thread in 2016 led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.

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