The world may be divided between the many who believe each moment is a fresh, unfolding occurrence and the many who see cyclic and recurring patterns. Among those two opposing factions, today, in and of itself, is fertile ground for argument. According to some, Jan. 6, 2014, is the most depressing day of the new year and has been accordingly labeled "Blue Monday."
Not so quick, there's more history attached to this day of defeat than you might suppose. For instance, prior to this year, the Monday of the last full week in January had been awarded the title of most depressing day of the year. Originally calculated in 2005, Professor Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University incorporated a variety of gloom and doom factors into his equation: weather conditions, debt levels, failed New Year’s resolutions, the number of days that had elapsed since the end of the Christmas holidays, the need to have something to look forward to, and general seasonal motivational levels. Based on this rather informal formula, Arnall discovered that Jan. 24, 2005 — the Monday of the final full week of the month — was the 24-hour period of maximum unhappiness and displeasure.
Although scientists and general skeptics quickly labeled Arnall's examination of collective mood the worst form of pseudoscience, the idea caught on with those inclined to accept claims based on less than rigorous proof and now today, Upbeat, a protein drink company based in the UK, has given even more context to Arnall’s claims with some research of their own. After analyzing over 2 million tweets in the month of January over the past three years, researchers at Upbeat found the first Monday back at work more consistently secured the lowest score on its "happiness index." In fact, tweets relating to guilt concerning New Year’s resolutions were nearly five times higher than average on Jan. 6 as people returned to work.
It seems, then, that Arnall may not be entirely wrong, at least among the social media set, even if his timing is a wee bit uncertain. It certainly makes sense that, after the holiday splurge, credit card statements and other bills coming in might be higher than normal. Plus, in the legal profession January is known as the busiest divorce month of the year, with twice as many divorces filed during this month in comparison to the second most popular divorce month, September. And of course the weather is rather terrible in most areas during January as well. Whether or not today is the worst day of the year, the winter blues are certainly upon us. So what can you do about it? In a phrase, cheer up. Whether you believe the best way to lift your blue mood is by eating the right foods or exercising or helping out a friend, now is the time to do what it takes to make yourself happy, light, and easy-going. Among other happy thoughts you might begin with the fact that you’re already more than halfway through Blue Monday.