Today, everyone is talking about the myth of “Blue Monday” and how today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Factors that contribute to this include bad weather, debt (particularly for those who were paid early in December and haven’t yet received their January pay packet), the amount of time that has passed since Christmas, the time we are most likely to have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the desire for change. Blue Monday is widely regarded as not actually being a very scientifically calculated thing, especially as it was originally started by a PR company.
However, the “January blues” are a very real thing for many of us, especially when you add current political factors like Trump and Brexit into the equation! Despite all of this, there are still many reasons to be cheerful; as a wise man once said “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.
If you take Blue Monday as fact or not, it’s always nice to have a few extra reasons to smile, so here’s some things to help you beat the blues!
- You’re alive, and hopefully happy and healthy. This on its own is something to smile about. Okay, so it might sound a little hippy-ish, but life truly is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
- Someone loves you! Your partner, your parents, your dog… Whoever it might be, everyone has someone who loves them. Take some time today and make sure they know you love them too. Telling them this will put a smile on their face and you can feel happy to know that you’re the reason for it. They will probably then tell you too, which will give you another reason to smile! (Unless you’re telling your dog, in which case he probably won’t say it back… but if he does, then that’s the biggest reason ever to smile- you’ve got a talking dog!).
- Happiness is good for you. Believe it or not, happiness is actually beneficial to your health: studies have shown that being happy can lower your heart rate, your levels of the “stress hormone”, cortisol, and the concentrations of plasma that are associated with heart disease.
- You are less likely to get ill. Supposedly, people that have a positive outlook are not only likely to get sick less often when exposed to the viruses that cause flu and colds, they also recover faster too.
- It is contagious. We’ve all been there: you’ve been having a good day until you have come into contact with someone with a face like thunder and their bad mood has subsequently ruined your good mood. Not fun, not fair and definitely not necessary. However, this can work the other way too- if you are happy, that can make the people around you happier too. They do say “smile and the world smiles with you” after all!
- You’ll be more productive. Happiness is very often linked to motivation. It is much more likely that you will be working hard and striving to get tasks done if you are in a good mood than if you are in an unhappy slump. This will then lead to positive feedback and a feeling of accomplishment, which are two more things to smile about. Happiness has also been linked to better decision making and improved creativity.
- The more you focus on the positive rather than the negative, the more you will start to notice other positive things too. Don’t let yourself get hung up on the little negative things, but do make a big deal about the little positive things. It’s things like getting the last slice of birthday cake in the office that can get us through the day!
- Friday. Okay so it might be Monday now, but it’s not going to be Monday forever. Friday will roll around again before you know it! But don’t spend your week finding mundane ways to pass the time whilst you are counting down to 5pm on Friday, look forward to it as a well-deserved break after a week of solid hard work and productivity.
- You never know what could happen. Today could be the day that you meet the love of your life, get a promotion, or even just find a £10 note in the street. Remember though: change isn’t going to just come to you, it is up to you to make it happen. Work hard and your efforts will be rewarded!
- Happiness = Success. Positive emotions help us to build our coping skills when things go wrong and they help us to connect with others. When applied to a workplace setting, this can mean that you are more likely to build strong relationships with your co-workers and managers and that you will deal better with difficult situations. This could then translate to internal promotions and progression opportunities! So, happiness could indeed be the key to success, rather than success being the key to happiness!
Happiness is not just about making the most of the good times, but also about being able to deal with the bad times. It is inevitable for there to be some negativity and it is healthy to have a balance, but the real test is how you choose to react to the negative challenges you find yourself faced with.
It might be Blue Monday, but the sun will start shining again, payday is now in sight (and you know you deserve to treat yourself as a reward for surviving January!) and Christmas will roll around again (probably scarily quickly). It’s never too late to try and make a change and the only person who can truly challenge you is you. Have a great Monday!
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