Author Profile Picture

Emma Sue Prince



Read more from Emma Sue Prince

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Them Monday Blues….


The third Monday of any January is traditionally known as “Blue Monday”, the most depressing day of the year. This is apparently calculated through a formula of weather, debt since Christmas, the time since failing our new year resolutions, low motivational levels and no real desire to take action. The formula originated in 2005, when a PR company appointed Welsh psychologist Cliff Arnall to formulate an equation to calculate the most depressing day of the year, as part of a publicity campaign by the now defunct Sky Travel. Scientists and psychologists say this formula is ‘ludicrous’. Well, whether you go for this formula or not, that equation is still a mighty heavy load to bear!

This year, Blue Monday falls on the 21st January 2013. Most people will, in any case, identify with the given rationale for this day – most of us are struggling with the early morning starts, uncertainty, cold weather, sluggishness, lack of sunlight, feeling demotivated, worried and just generally ‘down’. All of these things deplete our natural, inbuilt willpowerand can really contribute to a feeling of depression.

In reaction to the all-pervading gloom, Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) is running a well-being and awareness campaign – ‘Blooming Monday’ – encouraging people to wear their brightest clothes to raise awareness of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

“We hope that businesses, colleges and organisations will take part in Blooming Monday on 21st January. Down with drab, dreary colours. This Monday let’s brighten up Britain. Whilst wearing bright colours will not prevent SAD, which is caused by a lack of sunlight, there has been plenty of research linking mood and colour,” ,” says Dr Laura Davidson, mental health barrister and trustee of MHRUK.

Other sites devoted to the phenomenon include, which encourages people to hold up signs explaining why things aren’t so bad after all.

That’s great, but for longer-term impact, don’t we need more? The way most of us cope with anxiety and uncertainty is to slip into our default mode of focusing on things that are not actually happening right now and, even more likely, of imagining things that may never actually occur.  The benefits of living in the moment are extolled by many philosophical and religious traditions, but until now there has been scant scientific evidence to support this. This is starting to change and there is now a growing “mindfulness trend”.

What is mindfulness? Quite simply, it means being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment. A recent Harvard study found that close to 50% of us spend most of our time thinking about anything but what we are actually doing now, in the present moment. Cutting edge companies such as Apple and Google are testimony to the effectiveness of mindfulness at work.

Mindfulness can help people to live superlative lives. In the workplace it helps them to build teamwork, enhance creativity & communication and resolve conflict. It’s also been proven to enhance creativity, emotional resilience, clarity of thought and co-operation while reducing stress, feelings of powerlessness, fatigue and somatic illness.

For me, January and February are naturally reflective months, a time of hibernation, contemplation and perhaps less of action and busyness. So this Blue Monday, this week, yes, wear bright colours but why not also take some time to go inwards, to practice mindfulness, breathing and meditation?

The Advantage, a new book focusing on how we find, build and develop our inner resources to cope better in our changing world will be published by Pearson in March.

Unimenta exists to help trainers and teachers develop these skills in their learners – membership is free. Visit

Author Profile Picture
Emma Sue Prince


Read more from Emma Sue Prince

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!