Blue Monday, a trigger for a happy habit?

Tam Johnston

smiling monkey
As seen in the Huffington Post 

Its Blue Monday, a day that we tell ourselves we’re allowed to be miserable. So much so in fact, we’ve actually scheduled it into our calendars!

Having the odd contained day where we feel a little down in the dumps, especially after the chaos, expense and calorie intake of the festive season is absolutely fine. Our mood naturally fluctuates and by going with this, it makes the good days seem even better!

But what if every Monday is Blue Monday for you? What if you spend every Sunday evening dreading the alarm the following morning, telling yourself it’s going to be a terrible week and you’ll be glad when it’s over. If this sounds like you then ‘Houston, we have a problem’.

Are you ‘planning’ to have a bad day?

If we’re not careful, our day can snowball from a couple of mishaps into a fully ‘planned’ bad day (or week…month…)! Simply with our thinking, we can predict and schedule into our daily agenda a full blown avalanche of disasters. A questionable use of diarising! Cue scenario. You wake up late; the children won’t eat their breakfast because they want to sing you ‘Frozen’, for the millionth time. Your train is delayed because there are invisible leaves on the line. It gets you in a bad mood and your subconscious gets out its crystal ball.

Here’s what your mind’s up to…  you succumb to a couple of things not going as you wanted them and make a decision to just let it roll. That’s it. More of the same must be coming. I’ll just lie back and roll with the punches, but hate the ride! But I’m going to look out for them, just to prove that I was right! See, I knew it!

Let’s play this out again. Wow, that was a lovely unexpected lie in. How wonderful to hear the children singing in the morning, seeing them so happy makes me happy. It’s a beautiful winter’s morning, with glistening frost on the trees and a blackbird signing enthusiastically. I’ve time to grab a coffee and work whilst waiting for the train. I’m a little bit later than normal but I’m still going to smash this day, and it will make me even more focused when I get to work. Yes, I know, it is highly ‘saccharin’, but you get the point!

You must actively seek out happiness – it’s a feeling in the moment

Happiness is simply how we feel in a moment but unless we’re intentionally seeking it, the likelihood is we’ll be too busy doing or planning the next thing that we’ll miss it. We really have to be in the moment to feel and embrace it and bit by bit, it starts stacking up. It’s the friendly smile from the girl in the coffee shop, the work colleague who does you a favour, just because they can. The friend who has you in stitches. The moment your child gives you a hug for no apparent reason. Did you notice them?  Or were you just checking your phone for the umpteenth time or thinking about something else?

How can I be truly happy?

What’s really going on for you on a daily basis? What if you’re already happy but you just don’t know how to recognise the happy moments and let yourself feel it. The more we’re used to feeling happy the easier it is to access it. It’s how our body and mind is feeling in that moment.

Happiness is not dependent on anything

Time after time I hear from people “I’ll be happy when…” as though it’s there, glistening temptingly in their future somewhere, like a treasure chest of happiness sitting on some-day island, but they haven’t got it yet. What we’re really saying when we think this, is that we believe happiness dependent upon something – circumstances, possessions or other people.  What goes with this is the belief that we can’t be happy until we have whatever it is that we believe will make us happy. Now granted, there are circumstances that can provide experiences where we may find it, but only if we know how to find happiness with the experiences we have right now. I have travelled to some highly impoverished areas of the world and the people some of the happiest I’ve come across. They know how to feel happiness despite their circumstances.


If happiness could talk – what would it say to you?

Whilst it’s not realistic for anyone to expect to be 100% happy for every moment of every day, it really is a habit. If it could talk it would tell us it’s an emotion, a mood, a feeling that is there for the taking. It would tell you that just as we’re good at knowing how to feel irritated or stressed or sad at times, so too are we good at remembering how to feel happy! We have access to all our emotions, it’s just that sometimes we forget that we have the ability to feel happy just as much as we can perceive the day to day troublesome moods that leave us wanting more.

It would remind us that just as we seek out the problems and things we don’t have, we can also place that focus on what we do have and what is good in our lives. We can find ways to stop dwelling on the things that get us down, to let go and  laugh, have fun, to appreciate the good things in the moment; rather than focusing on what the future may or may not bring for us.

It wants us to know today that it wants to make us happy, right now. All we need to do is search it out and let it. If we allow it to make us feel happy, it will show us the way, it will guide us towards more things that will feed it and help it grow. It will be with us on our journey and help us create more of what we want in the future. It is within us; seek it out today and let it have its voice and show us where it lies. It’s an inside job!

7 Top tips to beat the blues and embrace the happy habit

  • Don’t pre-empt negative experiences ahead of time – it doesn’t have to be a terrible week. Is it stressful or simply a new challenge to conquer? If you schedule in bad times into your diary they will come true!
  • Never become passive to a bad day – it’s just a couple of incidents in the moment. Regain perspective and focus on making the rest of the day better to make up for it.
  • See the world through fresh eyes like a happiness filter. Turn those moments when you feel ratty on their head – listen for that blackbird singing.
  • Happiness is not dependent on anything tangible – it’s a feeling in the moment and comes from your experience.
  • Learn how to gather up all those happy feelings and memories – relive them and re-ignite the feeling of happiness in your body and mind again.
  • Teach yourself how to feel happy as quickly as you can be irritated or angry, there’s a whole new world of happy feelings out there for the taking.
  • Stay present as much as you possibly can. If you’re constantly distracted within the rat race, happy moments will simply pass you by.

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