This week, we experienced the dreaded “Blue Monday,” supposedly the most depressing day of the year. The most depressing because people are exhausted from the holidays, facing holiday bills, dealing with the still-short winter days, and, of course, it’s Monday.
Truthfully, there’s no science behind the idea of Blue Monday–it’s an advertising campaign run amok. Invented to sell vacations at a time when bookings had traditionally been down, the campaign gained a life of its own, and now every year we mark this melancholy occasion.
Because, as unscientific as it is, the campaign is not completely wrong. Many of us struggle with January blues, for many of the reasons included in the pseudoscience formula.
But you don’t have to travel to kick the January blues. In fact, all you may need is your smile. Here’s how to use your smile to make January a much happier time.
Smile for Others
People really appreciate smiles during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you should stop now that the holidays are over. Instead, smiling through January can really help you boost your mood and the mood of those around you.
When you spread smiles, you create a feedback loop of smiles. The person you’re smiling at will want to smile back, and then your smile will naturally grow, too. And both of your moods will be boosted. With both of you in a better mood, it will be a little more natural to be civil and kind to one another, and it’s amazing what a day full of kindhearted interactions will do for your mood.
If you find it hard to just smile at everyone, give yourself a more limited goal. Start by smiling when you first get to work, when you enter a meeting, and when dealing with cashiers or waitstaff. Then you’ll find it gets easier to smile more as your mood improves.
Smile at Yourself
One of the great things about smiles is that they aren’t a limited resource. You don’t have to save them for other people–you can smile at yourself.
If you’re feeling blue in the morning, just take a moment to smile at yourself in the mirror. This will give you the benefit of seeing a smile and feeling a smile, which will boost your mood. It’s a simple and easy way to lift your spirits a little bit, and every little bit helps!
A Great Smile Can Get You Through
If you’re facing the January blues, your smile is your single greatest asset to boost your mood and can even help improve the world on a daily basis. If you find that smiling isn’t working, then you can consider other approaches, and maybe talk to your doctor about whether you might have a more serious problem, like clinical depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).