Today is supposedly ‘Blue Monday’. This is a name given to 21 January – claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first publicised as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation. Here’s the formula if you’re interested:
[W + (D – d)] x Tq
M x Na
T=time since Christmas
Q=time since failing our new year’s resolutions
(By the way, in case you hadn’t realised, 17 January was “International Ditch your New Year’s Resolutions Day!”)
M=low motivational levels
and Na=the feeling of a need to take action.
No units were defined; the lack of any explanation for what is meant by “weather” and “low motivational levels” means the dimensional homogeneity of the resulting “formula” cannot be assessed or verified, rendering it completely meaningless!
Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist from Cardiff University, has described the work as “farcical”, with “nonsensical measurements”.
Even if the formula made any sense mathematically, the whole idea flies in the face of the truth. Whether we are depressed or not doesn’t depend on any of those factors mentioned in the equation.
The only variable is Thought; what’s going on inside the mind of each individual person. Or, more accurately, thought believed and identified with.
And that’s why this kind of baloney is so harmful. Most people still live in the innocently mistaken ‘outside-in’ misunderstanding of the human mind.
I even got an e-mail this morning from HR Review, buying into the concept and giving a whole list of well-meant advice to employers about how they could minimise the impact of Blue Monday on the mental health of their employees!
If you see this kind of nonsense everywhere around you, and you buy into it – it can certainly generate a whole load of thinking about your life that will result in a depressing or negative experience.
And it’s so cynical too. It has been taken up by companies who want to sell you something that will “make you” happier, like a holiday. And it won’t.
Just another example of the outside-in misunderstanding. Your happiness, well-being, joy and fulfilment cannot come from a holiday – or anything else outside you.
Believing that a holiday will ‘fix’ you and your depressing experience, sets you up for disappointment – and possibly more debt.
Imagine two people sitting near each other on the same beautiful beach in the sunshine, both sipping on something delicious with a little umbrella in it.
One is enjoying the feeling of the sun on their face, the sounds of the waves, and feeling grateful.
The other is feeling more and more miserable, as they reflect on everything that’s wrong with their life – their argument over breakfast with their spouse, the fact that the sun is too hot and there’s not enough shade, feeling annoyed because they didn’t bring enough suitable reading material, or feeling anxious because their body doesn’t compare favourably to some of the other bodies on the beach. Same holiday – entirely different experience!
I’m not for a minute saying don’t book a holiday! By all means, if you can afford it.
But as well as, or instead of that – why not make 2019 the year you get really curious about how the human experience actually works?
For all of us, true emotional freedom is the very natural consequence of understanding the way our minds work, and who we really are – underneath our personal thinking.
There are many ways you can do this. One of them is to book on to my next Heart of Thriving workshop 25 – 27 February in Hertfordshire.
Yes, I want to sell you something too! But I don’t feel bad about ‘selling’ you the truth.
You can listen here to conversations with people who’ve experienced my workshop, and whose lives have changed for the better – sustainably.
21 January is just a date in the diary, like any other. It could be depressing, joyful, boring, profound, miserable, exciting, creative and uplifting.
This could be the day you make a life-changing decision. Or the day you make a real difference for somebody else.
Over to you.