Using scientific method I have learnt that you cannot prove an hypothesis from observation, you can only disprove it.
There is no data to quantify the mood and state of people’s thinking on the particular day of ‘Blue Monday’. (Defined by the psychologist Cliff Arnall as usually being the third Monday of January.)
We do however have some indirect data – one network of life coaches, for example, reported a significant increase in trade in this period.
More significantly I have inadvertently collected ‘data’, albeit of an informal kind: since 2005 the story of Blue Monday has grown and grown in terms of scale of media coverage and its ability to replicate with ease, with just the tiniest of promptings from yours truly.
This, I would suggest, is offering some evidence, of an as yet, undefined mass phenomena, a zeitgeist – a mood of a time – perhaps indicating an under the surface root cause.
Cliff Arnall with his initial pinpointing of a date, and my later branding the date ‘Blue Monday’ were merely triggers for uncovering a latent phenomena.
Why is Christmas Day on December 25th? A common held theory is that the early Christians merely piggy-backed on an existing Pagan ritual of celebrating mid winter. Seemingly, our forefathers and foremothers perhaps wanted some cheering up in the middle of a bleak season in the northern hemisphere.
Linking the event of a pagan celebration with another underlying issue created a bigger occasion. The underpinning rationale was presumably to cheer people up in response to an undefined, no data-collected zeitgeist of people feeling fed up, a feeling of discontentment in mid winter.
‘Blue Monday’ I would suggest, could merely be a further, perhaps a minor wave of discontentment, a month after the mid-winter celebrations (now labelled ‘Christmas’).
Perhaps abetted by modern phenomena, such as the monthly pay check, the monthly on-coming of the credit card bill, and a social more of creating New Year’s resolutions, it all helps create a further wave of discontentment.
Sure, there is no data to support this theory, but then again, I don’t see any statistical data about the mid winter blues timing with the Christmas period.
I would suggest the potency of the Blue Monday meme launched since 2005 is an intellectual touchstone for justifying Blue Monday, as it offers a clue to a possible Zeitgeist.
That’s my hypothesis – and I am standing by it.