Science

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Is Today the Most Miserable Day of the Year?

January 21, 2008 04:37 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher at Britain’s Cardiff University, identifies Jan. 21, 2008—this year’s “Blue Monday”—as the most depressing day of the year. But Time magazine’s Bill Tancer says that dubious honor should assigned to a date in mid-November.

30-Second Summary

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Dr. Arnall calls it Blue Monday, and according to his calculations the final full week in January is the nadir of unhappiness for all kinds of people. 

The cause of this depression is a mix of bad weather, holiday debts and abandoned New Year’s resolutions.

And according to coverage of last year’s most depressing 24 hours, in British newspaper The Independent, the worst day of the year has to be a Monday.

Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association of Counseling, supports Arnall’s theory, telling the paper that the most depressing time has “got to be around this time of year—we are less contented with our body image because we've been bingeing.”

Arnall’s calculations did not take into account the festivities surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—Arnall is British, after all. But Time magazine’s Bill Tancer believes the formula to be outdated for another reason.

According to Tancer, an analysis of Internet behavior is a better method for gauging the country’s collective doldrums.

Tancer tracked both the frequency of depression-related Google searches, and the traffic to the Web sites of the nation’s most popular anti-depressants.

“According to our Internet behavior, our depression spikes reliably in mid-November every year, right in time for Thanksgiving, the launch of the holiday season,” Tancer writes.

“So,” Tancer concludes, “despite the failing economy, the storm of the century here in Northern California, a disappointing roster of presidential candidates and deciding that New Year's resolutions aren't for me this year, I'm feeling pretty good about things.”

Headline Link: ‘The Most Depressing Day of the Year’

Background: Last year’s Blue Monday

Related Topics: Holiday season perils

Reference Material: Ten ways to combat Blue Monday

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