Empowerment, personal performance and neuro-linguistic programming coach, Maria O'Meara works around the Oxford area helping people achieve personal excellence, develop strategies to deal with challenges and ultimately become successful in attaining their goals. As we enter the new year and approach the dreaded ‘Blue Monday’ (20 January), Maria discusses whether such a day even exists and if it does, reveals some of her tactics to combat these blue feelings.
January 2020, how exciting – new year, new beginnings, new opportunities and new adventures. However, despite all this promise and excitement, many fall victim to the phenomenon known as ‘Blue Monday’. In 2005, British psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall – in collaboration with Sky Travel – declared that in approximation, the third Monday of every January is considered to be the most depressing day of the year. Dr Arnall devised a formula in an effort to explain why we feel ‘blue’ on that particular day over any other.
The formula offered was [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA, where:
W = Weather
D = Debt
d = Monthly salary
T = Time since Christmas
Q = Time since failing New Year’s resolutions
M = Low motivational levels
Na =The feeling of a need to take action
Though Dr Arnall has admitted the formula is pseudoscience, at this time of year we are still bombarded with advertising slogans prompting us to spend our hard-earned money on items and concepts that allegedly take the blues away. We are relentlessly swamped with marketing strategies that arguably contribute towards the blues, resulting in a collective negative mindset further entrenched by the drab of winter, the abrupt end to the seasonal festivities and the sobering realisation that normality is once again upon us. Not exactly an inspiring set of circumstances, it must be said.
However, I believe that we have a moral obligation and social responsibility to adopt an altogether optimistic mindset and turn our thinking on its head. Negative and unpleasant thinking generates unpleasant and typically unproductive feelings which are then translated into inhibiting and damaging behaviours. If we continuingly reinforce such thoughts, we can quite literally develop a detrimental thinking habit. To prevent this pattern of behaviour, we must first interfere with and interrupt the self-fulfilling cycle of negative thinking. We need to stop the process in its tracks, fight back these thoughts and dismiss them as nothing more than toxic chatter.
The next step is redirection. We must redirect our thinking towards empowering, uplifting and ultimately constructive thoughts. My clients are all too often shocked and equally thrilled to discover that we have such effective control over our minds. Control that can significantly influence both our psychological and physiological state without the need for pharmaceutical intervention. If for example, something or somebody causes you to experience upset and consequently makes you unhappy, resist the temptation to engage in negative visualisations and self-destructive internal dialogues. View the circumstances as an opportunity for positive change, a chance to learn, bolster your inherent resilience and move on to a better place.
As an empowerment, personal performance and neuro-linguistic programming coach, I believe in empowering my clients by infusing meaning, purpose and strength into their daily professional and personal lives. My mission is to assist people in becoming the very best version of themselves. Let’s spin Blue Monday on its head. When it finally arrives let’s view it as an opportunity to celebrate our successes and marvel at the wonder of life. Don’t allow Blue Monday to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. You have the power of control. Choose to use it; you will be pleasantly surprised at what you are capable of achieving. Happy Blue Monday 2020 everybody!