The British have given us a lot of things: The English language, Sherlock, Cadbury chocolate, and so much more. But now, they may be trying to get us onboard with something that seems to be uniquely British: Blue Monday.
Never heard about it? Well, according to various publications, the pseudoscientific term is used to refer to the third Monday of January, which is supposedly “the most depressing day of the year.” For a while now, scientists have debunked Blue Monday as have most Britons, but companies across the pond still milk the day for all it’s worth.
“Hundreds of international media outlets have referred to the third Monday of January as “Blue Monday” since 2005, when a British travel agency issued a press release declaring it so,” writes Lauren O’Neil at CBC News. “British scientists started coming out against the “research” almost immediately, prompting Cardiff University to eventually issue a statement distancing itself from the “Cardiff University psychologist” who’d developed the formula.”
That psychologist and self-described “freelance happiness guru” is one Dr. Cliff Arnall, who would eventually go on to debunk his own scientific myth.
“[I]t is not particularly helpful to put that out there and say ‘there you are’,” he told the Telegraph in 2010. “It is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that it is the most depressing day.”
In other words, telling everyone that today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year—even though that’s totally untrue—still may lead people to feel more depressed. All of a sudden junk science becomes real.
Good thing we Americans have something much better to celebrate on the third Monday of January: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! The Brits can keep their Blue Monday.
(Image via Disney/Pixar.)