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Blue Monday 'is a load of cock and bull'.

Blue Monday 'is a load of cock and bull'.

Blue Monday; a New Order song, a colour pallet from B&Q and the scientifically- proven most depressing day of the year. Only one of these things is true and in my opinion worth paying any attention to (it’s the New Order song btw).

The third Monday in January is known as Blue Monday. Apparently, it is the most miserable day in the calendar, and there is a scientific reason for this that is explained by an equation. This year it falls on 16th, and a quick Google search will tell you the whole concept is actually a load of cock and bull and has about as much scientific veracity as the script of Ghostbusters.

But before we debunk the science, some context. Blue Monday was first devised in 2005 by holiday company Sky Travel as a - yes you’ve guessed it- marketing campaign. The idea was to get potential customers thinking about summer holidays to ward off those ‘winter blues.’

‘Surely as a nation we’re not that simple, buying into such obvious commercially concocted claptrap,’ I hear you cry. Well, I’m afraid we are and we do. Blue Monday to this day continues to be a sales driver for travel companies. Some have taken it a step further and invented Jet-set Saturday on the weekend prior to Blue Monday to encourage flight sales and many report that it is one of their busiest times.

So how did Sky Travel discover Blue Monday? Firstly they engaged with a psychologist and expert; Dr Arnall, who said he was from Cardiff University. Dr Arnall collected a series of data and from this created a ‘scientific’ equation. This equation supposedly backs up the claim that the third Monday in January is indeed the most depressing day.

The equation is [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA. W is weather, D is debt, d monthly salary, T time since Christmas, Q time since failure of attempt to give something up, M low motivational level and NA the need to take action.  

The equation has since been debunked and labelled “pseudoscience”, with many experts claiming it to be total nonsense and even farcical. Cardiff University has distanced themselves from Dr Arnall saying he had never even lectured at the University. Ben Goldacre, a science writer for the Guardian, further points out that the creator of the Blue Monday equation, Cliff Arnall, has attached his name to several equally silly press-release-ready formulas, such as “happiest day of the year” which was commissioned by Walls ice-cream and surprisingly falls in the summer.

While most can look at such equations with some perspective and hopefully not get caught up in the con, there are some who may be influenced by them, believing them to be true, because they do feel rubbish in January and so it must be true. Belief is everything. If you believe it will be the most depressing day of the year, then it’s likely you will look for things to back up this belief. I could offer some psychological research about how we look at life and how this feeds our internal scripts and our perception of the external world, but there’s no need. This truth is that the way we see things and act makes a difference to how we interpret events and how we feel about them. Our behaviours and thoughts have a huge impact on how we feel every day.

Obviously, at Laughology we’d never use spurious mumbo jumbo to exploit your emotions and promote ourselves. However, as its already been done, then f*8k it, I’ll piggy back on it.

So if you just want to make a concerted effort to feel mentally and physically fitted this Blue Monday here’s what you can do:

  1. Get as much natural light as possible. Natural light helps stabilise serotonin and triggers endorphin, both mood-boosting hormones. If you get public transport to work get off a stop earlier and walk for 10 minutes. Create a walking group at work. This only needs to be 15/20minutes to get a positive effect. Get outside and walk around the block. You could enhance the positive effects by combining your time outside with the second suggestion.

  2. Take aerobic exercise. It’s important to get the heart pumping, and you don’t need to do a full hour workout. —walking, jogging, cycling at a really fast pace for just 15 minutes will do this. It’s easy, boosts endorphins and will leave you feeling calmer and happier. 

  3. Smile. When you smile, you release a cascade of feel-good chemicals in your brain. Your body relaxes, and blood pressure may be lowered. Smiling is contagious too, so if you smile at others, you’ll help them feel better as well.

  4. Be grateful. Research has shown that when you take the time to appreciate what you already have, you’ll feel more energetic and optimistic. Make it a habit to openly thank three people a day for things. If you have children create a time at breakfast or dinner to talk about three things you are thankful for that day or in teams talk about three things you are thankful for in your place of work.

  5. Practice altruism. There’s a growing body of research that links altruistic behaviour with improved health and a greater sense of wellbeing. Take time to stop and help someone, notice people you can help or actively help a charity this year.

  6. Spend time with friends, loved ones and colleagues. Relationships are one of the most important things to ground us, give us perspective and to help us be happy. Spend quality time with these people, away from computers, phones and distractions. Relationships need nurturing so spend some time doing so, and you will get loads back.

  7. Try something new and stretch yourself this year. Put your name down for a job you wouldn’t normally do or an extra piece of work. Learn a new skill.

You can also book a Laughology workshop or event on Blue Monday and receive a 25% discount, but you have to book on Blue Monday by emailing or call 0844 800 1701 with the code shamelesspromotion2017.

 

 

 

 

 

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