Jan. 3 is predicted to be the most miserable day in Minnesota for 2018. That’s the word from a mattress review and comparison site that claims “no one in their right mind would want to be outdoors on such cold and dark days, which is why you should plan ahead to stay in and get cozy.”

The site looked at the last 30 years of weather records to find the date with the lowest expected temperature and least amount of solar energy, which is representative of the amount of visible ultraviolet (UV) light reaching the ground. In the North Star State, the coldest day isn’t until Jan. 22 while the darkest day based on the site’s criteria is Dec. 16 (the day with the least amount of daylight is Thursday, Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice).

The designation is frivolous — no doubt a way to sell more mattresses to lie around on during the dark, cold days. However the miserableness index may just have some relevance in light of a recent study published in the journal Nature on Nov. 27 that finds personality may be determined by the climate of the location in which people grew up. It’s not good news for long-time residents of Minnesota where many people feel the winter brings “misery” ratings that last much longer than one day.

Researchers analyzing more than 1.5 million people in the United States and China reported that people who grew up in temperatures around 72 degrees Fahrenheit are more agreeable, extroverted, conscientious and emotionally stable. The farther one’s hometown temperature is from this ideal number, on the cold as well as the hot end of the extreme, the less likely those residents will exhibit these qualities.

That seems to conflict with our state’s tagline of “Minnesota Nice.” Minnesota may not be full of extroverts, but our state has many conscientious people (first or near the top in voting, volunteering and philanthropy), our residents appear to be even-keeled, perhaps even a bit laid back, and the majority of residents seem quite agreeable.

Delving deeper into the study, the researchers aren’t saying people in cold weather are unfriendly or unhappy. Instead, they found that people in extreme weather are less likely to explore the outside environment, where both social interactions, such as meeting new friends, and new experiences abound because it is too cold or too hot for much of the time.

According to the study, people feel psychologically secure when they're comfortable, which makes them more likely to explore.

However, cold weather in Minnesota has become such a fact of life for residents here that the state has adapted, building an extensive winter infrastructure to give residents a feeling of security most of the winter — those few nasty winter storms that bring blowing snow and subzero temperatures notwithstanding.

For example, we have domed football stadiums, an indoor amusement park, covered water parks, enclosed skyways, heated fishing shacks, snowmobile trails that connect most towns and an efficient snow removal system that keep the roads open 99 percent of the time to explore the great outdoors — and indoors — when snow falls.

As far as the lack of light, visitors taking a drive around most any town in Minnesota will see an abundance of Christmas lights brightening the neighborhoods. Many towns have winter festivals with two in our area — Rushford and Spring Valley — holding light parades.

Even with reduced light, winter doesn’t necessarily keep people in their homes. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, ice skating, moonlight walks, dog walking, even dog sledding are popular activities. Spring Valley recently held a Frozen Feet 4k for runners and people seeking the thrill of an outdoor swim in January can take advantage of Chatfield’s Chill Fest after Christmas.

Another advantage Minnesota has is relatively clean air. A different study by a Washington, D.C., firm found that increases in air pollution in China accounted for a decline in happiness and an increase in depressive symptoms from 2007 to 2014. This was particularly true for people who worked outdoors or had young children.

Minnesota’s temperatures can be brutal at times, but the winter air will be felt, not seen, as winters tend to flush the system here. Even ozone, an invisible gas that is a concern in summer at times in Minnesota, isn’t a problem during winter.

Not all winter activities are outdoors. Indoor social activities also abound in Minnesota. Church dinners, pot lucks, meat raffles, bingo, community events, bowling, school concerts, theater and indoor Santa appearances are a part of the winter calendar in Minnesota.

Even if you accept the premise of the study in Nature, perhaps there is more to life than a temperament that is an even as a year-round 72-degree temperature.

We’ve seen the cruelty of the world — in the form of Arctic blasts of cold, blizzards that bring snow and days with little daylight — every year, but we also know the darkness and cold will pass. The 72-degree days will come back.

Minnesotans may not have the always sunny outlook of our warm state neighbors in the south, but we have a realistic view of the world forged in encounters with 40-below temperatures, lashing winds and driving snow that prepare us for everything life has to throw at us.

Besides, we know there really are some miserable days that aren’t meant for exploring. If that makes us a bit aloof, so be it.