Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 23, 2013

House of Burgess – Most depressing day of year

Blue Monday has no basis in reality

Think back to Monday. It was just two days ago, so it shouldn’t be that difficult.

How were you feeling? How would you rate your mood compared to the other 364 days which came before it? I only ask because lore has it that the Monday of the last full week in January is Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year.

Blue Monday came to fruition back in 2005 when Dr. Cliff Arnall, a Welsh psychologist and then-tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University, was paid a total of £1,650 (roughly $2,600) by British firm Sky Travel to calculate that date.

“The self-styled ‘freelance happiness guru’ chose the date based on a pseudo-mathematical formula involving the weather, debt, motivational levels and time elapsed since Christmas,” reported Alastair Jamieson of The Telegraph. “[Dr. Arnall] has [since] admitted the idea of a single most depressing day was ‘not particularly helpful’ because it became ‘a self-fulfilling prophecy’ and that achieving happiness and being less materialistic was a year-round aim.”

Also included in that $2,600 was Dr. Arnall’s fee for calculating the happiest day of the year.

“The equation Dr. Arnall devised to find the happiest day, in work commissioned by ice cream maker Walls, was O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He,” reported the BBC. “Within that, O stands for being outdoors and outdoor activity, N for nature, S for social interaction, Cpm for childhood summers and positive memories, T for temperature and He for holidays and looking forward to time off.”

(In case you’re curious, Dr. Arnall has declared the happiest day of the year to fall sometime in mid-June. Go figure.)

After these dates went public, Cardiff University publicly distanced itself from Dr. Arnall and his pronouncements.

“Cardiff University has asked us to point out that Dr. Cliff Arnall, mentioned in the article below, was a former part-time tutor at the university but left,” read a disclaimer at the beginning of Ben Goldacre’s article on the phenomenon for The Guardian.

All of this is pseudoscience and has no factual basis in reality, but I can certainly understand why people get caught up in it. It certainly feels true. The three months preceding January are chockablock with exciting holidays. In the 62 days between Oct. 31 and Jan. 1 we had Halloween, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Solstice, Mayan Apocalypse Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s no wonder the post-Christmas lull has people down.

Certain groups must have it harder than others, though. If you’re a racist I can totally understand why Monday had you down in the dumps. Sunday saw the first mixed-raced president in the country’s history sworn in to a second term, Monday was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day and February is Black History Month. (What’s a bigot to do?) Those afflicted with seasonal affective disorder are bound to have a hard time right around now as well. By some estimates this group comprises up to 10 percent of the population. Interestingly, this condition also strikes some during the seasonal change to warmer, brighter weather as well as the darker winter months. Someone had better urge Wall’s to rethink its whole happiest day idea. But, then, I guess being sad is as good an excuse as being happy to gorge on ice cream, right? Large retailers also have to be similarly hanging their heads right around now as well. Two of the largest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, have long since faded from the rear-view mirror. And I’ve yet to see anyone try to monetize Dr. King’s birthday like Christmas. Although, I’m sure someone is bound to try it someday.

The fact that Blue Monday is even a thing at all speaks to our need to fill this white, cold void between now and the first signs of spring. But you don’t need to wait for permission from your neighbors to celebrate. (Or eat ice cream. Or book a vacation.) Every day is a holiday if you look hard enough. According to the Hallmark Channel, today is National Handwriting Day and Measure Your Feet Day. And Thursday is Beer Can Appreciation Day, National Compliment Day and National Eskimo Pie Patent Day. Party on.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robaburg.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller