I am hear to tell you that Blue Monday is a myth! Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The term 'Blue Monday' was coined by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2005 to highlight the factors that could get you down in January, as part of a marketing strategy for a holiday company. There is no robust scientific evidence that we are actually more fed up on the third Monday of January than on any other day.
Cliff Arnall has even apologised for himself since the term took on such a negative connotation, promoting the idea that it is only ok to be down on one day a year and scuppering the chances of any of us who happen to enjoy January (yes, those people exist)! Cliff assures us that what he intended, was to encourage us to reflect on our year ahead to improve our lives for the better.
On that note, I am going to share with you five tips for feeling happier on any day of the week during any month of the year.
1. Focus on what you have
On a daily basis remember to note all the positive aspects of your day and it will train your mind towards an ‘attitude of gratitude’ which has been shown to improve happiness. Had a truly awful day? Consider what didn’t happen. In most cases, there is something which could have been worse or a silver lining you can find to be grateful for.
Feeling unmotivated and lacklustre? Set yourself an achievable goal rather than a huge one which could leave you feeling overwhelmed and stuck. Need to mark 20 exams… sounds pretty scary doesn’t it….but can you mark 5 by Wednesday? You probably can. Setting achievable goals can increase your motivation and confidence which will have a knock-on effect on your energy levels and happiness.
3. Stop comparing yourself
Social media can encourage us to compare ourselves and our lives to the people we know. The problem is this, social media can very easily misrepresent the bigger picture and lead us to forget that we are all unique with different sets of circumstances and struggles. Comparing yourself to others has been proven to reduce happiness levels. Focus instead on what you are doing well and compare yourself to the only fair comparison there is out there – you!
4. Little Luxuries
This is my favourite one, think of the little things that you enjoy and list them. Then find small ways to work them into your days. Perhaps you love a caramel latte? Treat yourself to a coffee shop stop! No time? How about taking one to work in an insulated cup and enjoy. For some people little luxuries might be walking the dog, meditation, chatting to a friend, reading a good book… The list of possibilities is endless. But by treating yourself regularly in small ways you will feel happier and it can have a positive effect on your self esteem... because, yes, you are worth it!
It doesn’t matter whether this is a long meaningful chat with your best friend in the world, having a laugh with colleagues or just exchanging a knowing glance with a stranger when something weird happens at the train station. The fact is, as people, we make each other happy! Connecting and communicating with other people makes us feel better. So, who can you connect with today?
Now we’ve established that Blue Monday is nothing more than a myth, you can concentrate on making your wellbeing a year round goal.