Blue Monday is said to be the most depressing day of the year. Whilst January 18th might be a low day for some, it won't be for a lot of people, in fact there's no scientific evidence to support the idea that we will all definitely feel down on Blue Monday. If we tell ourselves that Blue Monday is going to be a depressing day for us, however, then guess what ? it inevitably will be. This is because our Primitive Brain cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality and when we suffer from depression, anxiety or low mood, we operate from our primitive emotional brains and we tend to fixate on our problems and become very negative.
Blue Monday was coined by Psychologist Cliff Arnall and it falls on the third Monday of every January, every year. Sky Travel asked Mr Arnall to come up with the idea as part of their marketing campaign and whilst they claimed it was based on a scientific equation, there isn't any real scientific research behind it.
Why it's unhelpful
As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist, I recognise how unhelpful it is to label a specific day as depressing. This time of year can be difficult for many people, including those people who suffer from SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. Typically at this time of year, we are all feeling financial constraints after Christmas and New Year, we are experiencing early dark nights and cold weather and this year we have the added concern of the Coronavirus Pandemic and all the restrictions that have come with it.
In my sessions with clients, we focus on small changes that we can make to cope better with everything we are experiencing and we set small achievable goals to help motivate us to find solutions to our problems.
Be careful what you think, your Brain is listening!
Focusing our attention on our mental health on 18th January in such a negative way will not help us. Instead, we need to work on our mental health everyday. We do this by using the 3P's:
Positive Action - exercise, hobbies and self-care.
Positive Interaction - talking on the telephone to friends, Zoom or facetime family and friends that you can't see at the moment and spending quality time with any family members/friends you do live with.
Positive Thinking - learning to silence that harsh inner critic, being compassionate to ourselves and others, using a daily mantra or affirmation to turn our thoughts into more positive ones and keeping a gratitude journal etc.
When we are putting the 3 P's into action, we become more mindful and focused and we can begin to empty our 'stress buckets' and move back into our Intellectual Brain where we are generally more positive and rational and where we know Blue Monday is just a marketing ploy to get us to book a holiday!
The next time your harsh inner critic says something unkind, imagine yourself saying that thought out loud to your best friend or your partner - someone you care for. Imagine how that would make them feel and more importantly if you wouldn't say it to them, don't say it to yourself!
We need to ease into January, keep things simple, take a day at a time, get some fresh air and exercise, talk to someone about your worries...chances are they have worries too and you won't feel so alone. If your feelings of anxiety become too much, it might be time to seek professional help. Therapy doesn't have to take years and it is completely private and confidential. As a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist I deal with many clients with anxiety and depression. Each session is structured and is very relaxing as it is a combination of a talking therapy and hypnotherapy. We don't need to talk about your painful past if you have one and we don't need to focus on your problems and issues. With client commitment, we see improvement very quickly. Take a look at my website http://tanifserenityfh.co.uk/ for further information or my Facebook page https://facebook.com/serenityTCH/
Tanif Catherine Hussain
Clinical Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist HPD DSFH AfSFH MNCH MCHNC GHR(Reg) NBFMP(Reg)