Blue Monday – The Most Depressing Day of the Year?

Most Depressing Day
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How you feeling today? Chances are, not that great…

You see today is Monday the 21st January and apparently it’s Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year! Well if I take a look out of the window I could well agree, it’s dark, wet, cold, I can hear the wind howling down my chimney oh and it’s snowing  too!

So why does this make today the most depressing day of the year? Well to be fair, the name ‘Blue Monday’ started back in 2005 as part of a promotion for the Sky Travel TV channel – I guess it was to try and sell more holidays! But the idea behind the 3rd Monday in January being the most depressing day was allegedly calculated by psychologists based upon a number of factors; the number of hours daylight we have right now, the winter weather, the fact that the credit card statement from the pre-Christmas spend is about to drop through the door and pay-day for most is still a week away!

OK, so in reality the term ‘Blue Monday’ was pretty much something dreamt up to sell more holidays but what if you are feeling a little down today, what can you do about it?

Well for a start, diet plays a massive part in how your feel, if you’re eating clean and healthy then your body and your brain are getting the nutrients they need most. If you’re eating processed foods, sugary foods or ‘comfort foods’ then these will naturally trigger feelings of exhaustion, low self-esteem and negativity in your brain.

There are two main chemicals, or neurotransmitters in your brain that affect your moods; these are beta-endorphin and serotonin. If your diet is poor then these chemicals become ‘out of balance’ and those feelings of negativity become more apparent, get those chemicals into balance and your ‘mood’ will improve dramatically. when your serotonin level is low you may down and crave sweets or carbohydrates. Low serotonin levels are also linked to depression, anti-depressants such as Prozac are designed the ‘increase’ serotonin levels – more about this in a future post. Whereas an optimum level of serotonin creates a sense of well-being .

So what can I do? Simple, just follow the guidelines in my on Cleaning up your diet in my 5 Steps to a Better New You post and you’ll be well on your way. Secondly get some exercise!!! Yes get out there, ideally in day light as you gain the added benefit of Vitamin D production from the sun light (if there’s any around!). Get to the gym, to Bootcamp or just take a walk! Exercise causes a natural increase in that brain chemical I mentioned earlier serotonin, research has shown that just 3 hours of exercise a week is enough to stimulate and increase serotonin levels!

Serotonin the happy hormone

So there you have it, stop feeling sorry for yourself because it’s ‘Blue Monday’ eat clean and healthy and get some exercise – you’ll be surprised how good you’ll begin to feel!

On a serious note, depression or clinical depression is a serious disorder and something I’m really interested in – you see there’s a big link between nutrition, exercise and the brain chemistry responsible for depression. Get that right and you could be well on your way to recovery. But more about this in a future post!

Martin

 

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Marti Whitaker, EzineArticles Basic Author