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Blue Monday: Don’t let math decide your mood

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by Brittany N. Bottoms, Editor-in-Chief

The third Monday of January is dubbed “Blue Monday,” or the most depressing day of the year, according to math. That just happens to be today, January 20, 2020.

Factors that are considered by this formula are: weather conditions, debt level, (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. The equation used by Arnall in 2006 was:

\frac{(C \times R \times ZZ)}{((Tt + D) \times St)} + (P \times Pr)>400

where Tt = travel time; D = delays; C = time spent on cultural activities; R = time spent relaxing; ZZ = time spent sleeping; St = time spent in a state of stress; P = time spent packing; Pr = time spent in preparation. What the units of measurement are exactly, they are not defined; since we’re talking about time here, in less science-y terms, the formula means absolutely nothing.

The 2005 press release and a 2009 press release used a different formula:

\frac{[W + (D-d)] \times T^Q}{M \times N_a}

where W=weather, d=debt, D=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing our new year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels, and Na=the feeling of a need to take action. Again, no units were defined; what is meant by “weather” and “low motivational levels” was not defined. With that being said, the “formula” cannot be assessed or verified, making it even more meaningless than the previous formula.

Let’s not bring the mood down here though. In 2018, the inventor of these meaningless formulas told The Independent newspaper that it was “never his intention to make the day sound negative”, but rather “to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions”.

This, for me, is where things get interesting.

It’s a new year; a new decade. Who needs a formula to decide whether to be sad, happy or any other emotion for that matter?

As this year is moving at full speed ahead, make a decision every day to ‘take action and make bold life decisions.’

Michelle Obama once said, “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”

It doesn’t matter if that decision is life-changing one or just an every day decision.

We all make decisions every day. Make one that scares you; don’t let the decisions scare you out of making them. You don’t have to jump out of a plane or go out and make friends with a snake. Maybe it’s something as simple as letting someone merge in front of you, or not laying on your horn when they cut you off.

There are reports that the whole ‘Blue Monday’ things was a marketing ploy, but either way, it’s a good reminder that we need to take action. If you didn’t start on January 1, that’s ok. Start today.

“It’s never too late to do what you were made to do. You didn’t make a wrong turn before; you merely turned into someone else. Go with it. It might mean a career change, or it might simply mean shifting your schedule to prioritize your newfound passions. Whatever it looks like at this stage of your life, figure out what you were made to do and then do a lot of that.”

Bob Goff, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey

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