Support is being offered to help people overcome what is labelled ‘the most depressing day of the year’ – Blue Monday on Monday January 21st – with activities to turn it into a day of ‘binge happiness’ – and also raise funds for mental health charities.
The combination of general economic doom and gloom coupled with the domestic grief of unpaid bills, broken resolutions, and bad weather make this potentially one of the worst Blue Mondays ever.
A special campaign web site, www.beatbluemonday.org.uk is offering practical advice to tackle the effects of Blue Monday, the symbolic date for the low point in the year, along with a special ‘5 stage Binge Happiness Work-Out’ programme to help people to make themselves happier.
Campaigners are aiming to reduce stigma associated with depression by talking about it and using the day as a springboard to improve quality of life by promoting and encouraging more happiness.
Blue Monday has evolved from an idea originally conceived by Cliff Arnall, formerly of Cardiff University, who created a mathematical formula to identify a number of the elements contributing to a general feeling of mid winter blues.
Advice for making you feel better during Blue Monday includes keep active, eat well, keep in touch with friends and family, care for others, do something you are good at, ask for help, accept who you are, talk about your feelings, take a break and drink sensibly.
Further help is also available from organizations such as the Mental Health Foundation who have produced a guide ‘How we can help ourselves’ available from www.mentalhealth.org.uk
The ‘Beat Blue Monday’ campaign is a completely non-commercial campaign developed by the Flexible Thinking Forum, a not-for-profit organisation promoting flexible and creative thinking skills in business and the community with the support of GREEN communications.
Commenting on the Blue Monday campaign Andy Green of the Flexible Thinking Forum said: “Blue Monday may symbolically be the year’s most depressing day, but it doesn’t have to be. By making the most of potential opportunities around us we can transform it into a springboard for a positive happy day – even a time for binge happiness. Blue Monday is also a time to think about mental well-being issues and doing positive things to help.”
Notes to Editors
Cliff Arnall is a former researcher, lecturer and post graduate tutor at the Medical and Dental School of Cardiff University. He has worked in the NHS helping people with depression and addictive behaviour. He also runs courses and gives talks for organisations on stress and anger management, happiness, understanding depression and the psychology of success.
Cliff Arnall devised the following mathematical formula:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x Na
The model was broken down using six immediately identifiable factors; weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and the feeling of a need to take action (Na).
The formula inspired the idea for Blue Monday which this year falls on Monday January 16th as symbolically the worst day of the year, when the Christmas glow has faded away, New Year’s resolutions have been broken, cold Winter weather has set in and credit card bills will be landing on doormats across the land – and the January pay-cheque seems some way away.
Blue Monday – Happiness Work Out
The 5 Step ‘Binge Happiness Work Out’ consists of:
Step 1 – write down four things over the last week which make you feel grateful. Then write and recapture how you felt about one of the best experiences or thing to happen to you in your life.
Step 2 – write about something good you have done for someone else.
Step 3 – write a short email or letter to someone who you like or care for. Why not tell them how good they are and why they are important to you?
Step 4 – make a list of your favourite places you have visited, or places you would like to go. Really imagine you are there.
Step 5 – write about your future where everything has gone as well as you have hoped. Also, think about the present, and make a note of four things that went really well for you during the last week.
In a psychological study by Laura King of Southern Methodist University it demonstrated the positive benefits of writing about their positive future. (L.A.King (2001) ‘The health benefits of writing about life goals’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (p798-807))