Apparently the Blue Monday that has just passed was the most depressing day of the year. This cheery fact was decided by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall in 2004, after a holiday company asked him to do some research into the topic. But why is it supposedly so depressing?
I did a bit of research (not much I can assure you, it is a dreary notion) into Blue Monday. I was surprised to discover that it has no basis in facts or statistics. It is just one guy’s notion, based on his theories of what makes people depressed. Blue Monday is officially the third Monday in January. As an interesting side note, before we start berating Dr Arnall, he also came up with the ‘happiest day of the year (a Friday in July) so it’s not all doom and gloom!
The contributing factors to ‘blue Monday’ are:
Christmas has long gone, friends and family have all disappeared to their own lives again, leaving people feeling isolated.
We have to start paying back credit cards etc and look at our spending habits over Christmas.
The weather is cold and bleak.
It is roughly three weeks from the start of the new year, and most people have broken their new year’s resolutions by now.
The summer holidays seem a long way away.
The worrying thing about ‘blue Monday’ in my mind, is in the labelling of a day as particularly depressing. This is highlighting it to people that may already have issues around depression and anxiety. All of a sudden, they are bombarded by the notion that there is a ‘depressing day’ to overcome. They start expecting to feel depressed, even if they have no reason to!
Once we begin to expand our consciousness, and live more in the moment, we can see the reality behind ‘blue Monday’ and break it down. It is all about looking at the past, focusing on what we don’t have, wishing things were different. This is no way to live a happy life! One of the great spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle, wrote a book on this very concept, ‘The power of Now’. I highly recommend his book for anyone wishing to find more fulfilment and peace in life.
The power of now
Living in the moment means enjoying life as it comes to us. Don’t wait for summer to be happy, be happy right now! We never know what lies ahead, so choosing not to enjoy the present, just because it’s a bit cold outside really is crazy thinking. Look around yourself right now and feel gratitude for the people and circumstances in your life. In life the only absolute certainty we have is change.
You may feel as you go about your daily life that you are stuck, doing the ‘same old thing’ day in, day out. In reality, life flashes past at the blink of an eye. It is only when we look back that we realise how lucky we were. When I was a young mother and my daughter was a toddler, I was approached a few times by elder women. They would smile at me and tell me how lucky I was. That I should cherish these times with her. Of course I did, but sometimes it was hard. Especially if she decided to have a screaming meltdown! This also made me feel sad for the elder women though. I hoped that although they weren’t looking after their children anymore, they had other things in life that were fulfilling to them.
The truth is we cannot change the past, or predict the future. We only have control over the present moment. Once we learn to control our emotions and release the anxieties connected with our ‘life story’ we can begin a better, happier existence. Looking back with regret, or wishful thinking can’t change anything.
What can we learn from ‘Blue Monday’?
The concept of a ‘blue Monday’ shows that thinking of the past (or future) with negativity, longing or regret is pointless. It can only lead to depressing feelings and is destructive to our spiritual essence.
Make each moment count, do not wait for a future date to feel happy. Your happiness is certainly not weather dependant, as suggested by this crazy ‘blue Monday’ notion. If you are feeling down because you miss having the family around, call them NOW, change your present reality. Or maybe that new year’s resolution has failed? Don’t be so hard on yourself, give it another go if you like, why not start right NOW. In my case I’m learning not to be so hard on myself with new year resolutions. I find that living mindfully one day at a time and not pressurising myself with massive changes all to be implemented on January 1st, is much easier.
Your divine spirit was made for love and abundance. When you can see that and live in joy and wonder in the now, then your present is reality, and mastery over it.