Watch out guys…there’s a dark cloud hovering over all that New Year’s excitement, and it’s called “Blue Monday.” According to Dr. Cliff Arnal (who apparently sits around and figures these things out), it is the most depressing day of the year. I am not sure of the exact equation, but this year, 2014, the date for “Blue Monday” is January 20th.
Dr. Arnall determined that this particular date is the most depressing for a variety of depressing reasons:
– In the northern hemisphere, weather conditions are usually at their worst (dreary and cold)
– Post-Christmas debts are finally coming due, and debt is the highest of the year
– We have had time to emotionally consider the time elapsed since Christmas
– Most people have abandoned their New Years resolutions
– Our overall motivation level is low because of the cold and gloom
– We lack something to look forward to in the immediate future (no extended vacation periods for a while, more cold coming, etc)
So, if there is a “worst day of the year,” science tells us it is “Blue Monday.”
But do you have to be unhappy on Blue Monday? I believe that happiness (or unhappiness) isn’t based on outside forces, but rather how we internally respond to negative outside forces, as the people behind Cognitive-Behavioral therapy and NLP remind us. Below are some tips to make Blue Monday 2014 less blue and more happy and uplifting.
Get Warm And Sunny
Sure, winter is cold, but there are plenty of warm places you can be that don’t involve going to Florida. Turn your heat up a little bit if you can afford it (can you really put a price on happiness?), and get a few extra lights for the rooms you spend the most time in. On sunny days, either get outside (bundle up!) or go near a window and just look in the general direction of the sun. You can also close your eyes and turn your head toward the sun. This will turn your black field of vision bright red and make you feel warm and happy, in part because you are making serotonin.
Last winter I went hiking with a friend one sunny day. Even though it was freezing, we hiked all the way up a big foothill. Sitting atop a log up there, with my eyes closed looking in the sun’s direction, it almost feel like I was in a summery paradise.
Start A Business
If debts are getting you down, one way to remedy that is to make more money. Most people hate their jobs because they are slaves to someone else, someone else who can lay them off at the drop of a hat. Nobody wants to spend the best years of his life slaving so someone else can get rich. Now is a great time to start your own business or at least looking into that. I suggest reading Effortless Entrepreneur to get started. It is inspirational, fun, and will give you some ideas how to get started.
Create Spring Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are good, but people rarely stick to them. If you have abandoned your previous resolutions, then resurrect them as “spring resolutions.” Spring is coming fairly soon. Set realistic goals that you can achieve by the time the weather gets warmer. For example, set a goal to lose by 20 pounds by the time “race season” starts, or before your spring break vacation. This is a way to resurrect your previous resolutions and also give you something to look forward to. Visualize yourself feeling good after having accomplished these goals. Whenever you are tempted to quit, remember how good you’ll feel once you have achieved them.
Plan Fun Things
At Christmas, we all have a lot to look forward to: parties, family gatherings, presents, vacation days, and even pay bonuses. Then suddenly January comes and friends and families stop scheduling fun events, putting them off until the summer. It is as if everyone collectively agrees to be miserable until June. If none of your friends wants to schedule something, then YOU do it. That’s right, schedule a party. Schedule it out a few weeks so everyone has time to plan for it and it gives you something to look forward to. Sometimes anticipating is just as important as actually doing. Make sure you have plenty of things to look forward to this winter.
So the lesson is, “Blue Monday” 2014 doesn’t have to be depressing at all!