In 2005 a British psychologist designed a mathematical formula that as a result found that the third Monday in January is the saddest day of the year. Although science has repeatedly refuted this conclusion, there are several who still think that this day does have an impact on people's moods.
This January 20, 2020 is considered the saddest day of the year, or Blue Monday, by many people. This was by a mathematical formula created in 2005 by psychologist Cliff Arnall in England.
For years, this theory has been refuted and discredited, but it keeps coming back year after year. Sometimes he does it through numerous campaigns, some commercial, and others well-intentioned that seek to raise awareness about sadness and depression.
Could it be really a sad day? Who came up with this idea?
The controversial "formula"
It all started in 2005 with the attempt of psychologist Cliff Arnall to design a formula to calculate the worst day of the year.
The formula uses factors that supposedly affect the mood of people every third Monday of the year. Some examples are the debts acquired at Christmas, the return to the work routine after being on vacation, for not having begun to fulfill the purposes of the new year and for being the beginning of the week.
1 / 8C + (D-d) 3 / 8xTI MxNA
Thus, C is the weather; D, debts acquired during the holidays; d is the money to be charged at the end of January; T is the time that has passed since Christmas; I is the time that has elapsed since the last attempt to leave a bad habit; M are the motivations that remain and the NA refers to the need to act to change everything negative that surrounds the person.
At the same time that Blue Monday has become popular, the formula has been questioned by scientists. But each year it is commented, criticized and discussed on this day.
One of the arguments of the skeptics to the formula is that the variables involved are subjective and clearly not scientific.
None of the factors included can be measured or compared with the same units. The formula cannot be properly evaluated or verified. For example, there is no way to measure the average number of days since people did not fulfill their New Year's purpose. And the January weather varies between different states, countries and continents. In short, it has no scientific merit.
What about winter depression?
Although the formula invented by Arnall has been questioned as unreal, what is real is winter sadness, better known clinically as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
This is a form of depression that people usually experience during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight. The most difficult months for people with this disorder tend to be January and February, but it improves with the arrival of spring.
In fact, Psychology Today reported that there are approximately 10 million people in the United States who are affected by this disorder.
The condition has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain caused by shorter hours of light and less sunlight in winter. As the seasons change, people experience a change in their internal biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which may cause them to not be synchronized with their regular schedule.
The saddest day for networks
Although the scientific evidence shows that the formula invented by Cliff Arnall is not valid, the date on the calendar has served to proliferate campaigns, memes and messages of encouragement on the internet to counteract what is supposed to be the saddest day of the year.
But there are also companies that try to take advantage of the pull of this day to offer some product with which to help lift their spirits.