Don't Be Sad: Blue Monday Is Not Really Blue!

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke

No doubt your Facebook "friends" are posting reminders that Monday, January 18, is "Blue Monday," the most depressing day of 2016 as confirmed by scientists. The only depressing thing about this is how we can be so gullible and buy into a misinformation campaign aimed at selling you something.

While Valentines Day and Mother's Day were created to support the flower, card and chocolate industries, Blue Monday was a creation of a travel agency in 2005 intended to help sell winter vacation to Brits. The myth has been perpetuated by news editors who assigned writers to produce stories about the alleged peak of seasonal depression without challenging the pseudo science or noting that their source was a news release promoting Sky Travel's sales campaign. "Science" -- as written by a PR firm -- says the third Monday in January is the low point.

In this age of Google and Wikipedia, you can easily trace the trail of Blue Monday. The venerable American news organization MSNBC published this on January 24, 2005:

"Is the midwinter weather wearing you down? Are you sinking in debt after the holidays? Angry with yourself for already breaking your New Year's resolutions? Wish you could crawl back under the covers and not have to face another day of rain, sleet, snow and paperwork? Probably. After all, it's Jan. 24, the 'most depressing day of the year,' according to a U.K. psychologist. Dr. Cliff Arnall's calculations show that misery peaks Monday."

It even included an algebraic formula that seems to confirm it was rocket science and that Dr. Arnall is an Einstein: [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA

In the event you want to calculate your personal level of Blue Mondayness, those variables represent: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

The remedy suggested by the good doctor, who was paid by Sky Travel to put his name on the press release, is to change the variable W (weather) by booking a tropical vacation.

While you may be cheered to be able to now ignore the ravages of Blue Monday because it is bogus, do not apply this same philosophy to the upcoming Valentines Day. You may experience major side affects, which could include sleeping on the couch and even divorce, which could may every day a Blue Monday.

  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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