Created on: January 22, 2013 Last Updated: January 23, 2013
Christmas is over. The next major holiday won’t be until Easter. Winter isn’t even halfway over. The credit card bills have arrived in the mail. The sun rises later and sets earlier. There are still five days left until the weekend finally arrives.
This is Blue Monday, the Monday of the last full week in January that is supposedly the saddest day of the year, according to British psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, who created a publicity campaign for a travel company in 2005.
Arnall produced a formula that included distance from holidays, debt levels, the weather, the minimal motivational levels and the time since individuals abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. The formula is calculated like this: weather equals W, time since Christmas equals T, debt equals d, time since failing the new year’s resolutions equals Q, low motivational levels equals M and the feeling of a need to take action equals Na. “D” is not defined in the release nor are units.
Although it has been dismissed as nothing more than pseudoscience – mathematicians and neuroscientists say the equations don’t make much sense – many are feeling the winter blues around this time of the year.
The date changes each year, though: Jan. 24 in 2005, Jan. 23 in 2006, Jan. 22 in 2007, Jan. 21 in 2008, Jan. 19 in 2009, Jan. 18 in 2010, either Jan. 17 or Jan. 24 in 2011 and Jan. 23 in 2012.
Meanwhile, the happiest day of the year is close to the middle of summer. In years past, it was Jun. 24 of 2005, Jun. 23 in 2006, Jun. 28 in 2008, Jun. 19 in 2009 and Jun. 18 in 2010.
News outlets in the United States and Canada have promoted the day and have offered various techniques to cheer up on the most so-called depressing day of 2013. Some of the ways to be happy are to get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet and do something good for someone else.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Arnall explained that he is not interested in day-to-day happiness, but rather how to stay happy all 365 days. Even though scientists have harshly criticized the formula, Arnall said that he has no regrets making the formula.
“I had no idea (about how widely used the term would be),” he said. “I just thought it was going to be mentioned in the British press for a week. The fact that it took off like that is incredible. But clearly it is tapping into something.”
His three suggestions to be happy all year long:
- Ask what five things a person needs in their life right now to be happy
- Never be someone else; take off the mask and just be one's self
- Have face-to-face meetings with people who genuinely love others
Learn more about this author, Andrew Moran.
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