Lifestyle & Belief

Blue Monday: Not the most depressing day after all


People with a high IQ report higher levels of happiness, according to a study.


Jeff J Mitchell

The myth that Blue Monday — the third Monday in January — is the most depressing day of the year has been debunked by none other than the man who made it all up.

There are plenty of articles floating around the internet letting Britons know how to beat Blue Monday, since Britain is where the idea began. But most seem to be forgetting that Cliff Arnall, the psychologist who reportedly made the calculations that let us know when we're sad, said he faked the whole thing.

According to a 2010 article in the Telegraph, the "freelance happiness guru" chose the date based on what he said was a mathematical formula that included the weather, debt, motivational levels and time elapsed since Christmas. But the truth behind it all is that Arnall was paid by a public relations firm in 2005 to identify the miserable day in order to promote holiday travel for British company Sky Travel.

More from GlobalPost: Study links IQ to level of happiness

Papers like the Daily Mail, however, are still publishing recommendations for how best to take on Blue Monday ("sit by a window or go for a stroll," it says). Meanwhile, Fox and Friends pointed out that the "most depressing day" this year is also inauguration day and Martin Luther King Day.

And the Telegraph itself ran a list of ridiculous press releases it has received regarding how to stay happy on the most depressing day of the year ("vacationitis," zoo animals and sunshine should help you out).

But if you really want to be happy? Wait for the happiest day of the year, which Arnall says he was also paid to determine, this time by Wall's ice cream. The psychologist now has his own "happiness consultancy," called No Pills. He offers conference presentations and two-hour courses on motivation in Brecon Cathedral for £50.