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How can I stay happy during ‘Blue Monday’?

positive

Blue Monday may not have scientific backing, but this time of year can certainly feel miserable. Lack of money, the grim weather and the post-holiday slump can just add to feeling down in the dumps.

Teen brand betty.me spoke to a psychologist and psychotherapist about why we might be feeling rubbish and what we can do to make ourselves feel a little less blue.

Get off Facebook!

Deborah Tom, Chartered psychologist, highlights the importance of self-care when you feel sad. She notes that social media can have a real effect on your mood as those who look regularly at social media feel worse about themselves because ‘we compare ourselves with all the best moments we see others having’. This is not a realistic comparison to make as instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have.

A study from the Happiness Research Institute found that people felt 88% happier when they did not use Facebook for an entire week so instead of scrolling your newsfeed Deborah suggests giving it a break and call a good positive friend as old wisdom says, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Go outside

January is naturally a time when we are more likely to feel sad as short days and long dark nights can leave us feeling tired and lethargic. A lack of sunlight triggers sadness as it lowers
the production of melotonin, making you feel sleepy, and serotonin which lowers your mood. 87% of the population says the weather has a direct effect on their mood.

Diana Parkinson, Psychotherapist, suggests taking up a new activity to make winter a fun time. Physical activity really lifts your mood, fills your body and mind with energy making you brighter and more creative. By adding in a daytime jog into your routine you’ll expose yourself to more sunlight, increasing the production of melatonin, and also help to release endorphins which will make you feel happier.

Self-care

Deborah Tom explains how women may feel sadder during their premenstrual phase as oestrogen levels affect levels of serotonin leading to higher levels of irritability. It is important we do little things to keep calm and happy. ‘Retail therapy’ is often applied to the notion of trying to cheer oneself up through the purchase of self-treats. Why not treat yourself to a bettybox? It’s a neat little subscription box which makes your time of the month easier and sends you lots of lovely treats to boot.

Sadness is a normal feeling which can be triggered by external events such as reactions to other people’s troubles. It can be a response to our own difficulties such as loss or disappointment. Sadness can also come on for no reason at all. But it isn’t all bad as research shows that sadness can improve your decision making. Sadness grounds us and slows us down so that we notice more detail so it is a good time to calmly look at facts, question assumptions and go into detailed attentive thinking time.

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