Falling on Monday 15 January 2024, Blue Monday is dubbed ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Whilst some may dismiss Blue Monday as a marketing ploy dreamed up by a holiday company, there’s no denying January can be a struggle for mood and motivation.
A recent study found that Unhappy employees take nine more sick days a year than their happier counterparts. Delving deeper in to the results, the study found:
- Just 13% of unhappy staff think they are very productive at work — three times lower than their happy peers.
- The average unhappy, unproductive worker loses nine hours of productive time per week — more than a typical day’s work.
- 80% of workers said that they are more productive when they are healthy and happy.
If you’re feeling low on Blue Monday 2024 look no further than our 5 practices below. Based on our hugely popular Happiness Formula workshop, these tools are designed to boost happiness and productivity, put these practices in to place and feel your mood soar.
1. Focus on your Strengths
If there’s one thing you do for Blue Monday 2024– get your team to think about their strengths.
Just as a fish doesn’t know it is wet, we don’t always know our strengths because they seem so natural and normal to us. Our signature strengths don’t seem like a big deal to us, but they mean so much to other people.
Research shows that when people identify and use their unique strengths, they report feeling ‘more alive and fundamentally happier’.
The Gallup Institute looked at a huge dataset from millions of employees across the globe. The results showed that the more hours per day adults believe they use their unique strengths, the more likely they are to report ‘being energetic’ ‘being happy’ and ‘smiling and laughing a lot’. In fact employees who use their strengths every day are more than three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life.
2. Try this Morning Happiness Practice: The 7 Minute Delay
This is about starting your day powerfully. There are multiple studies proving that the state that you start the day in – tends to be how your day unfolds. So if you start your day by grabbing your phone and feeling stressed and overwhelmed its going to be quite hard for you to turn this state around for the remainder of your day.
The first 7 minutes of your morning is about doing what’s good for you. Meditation, stretching, drinking a glass of water, cuddling your kids or partner or dog. Whatever will stop the cortisol surging up and putting you in a place of high stress to start your day. A morning routine can be transformative. If you don’t have one in place already, Blue Monday 2024 is the perfect time to start.
3. Three Good Things
The practice of noting 3 good things from your day or week has been popularised as a sure-fire way to boost your happiness and strengthen your mindset.
In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we’re living under our own private rain cloud. At the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness—a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. In the process, we frequently miss opportunities for happiness and connection.
When seeking to live your happiest life, gratitude is the key to becoming more conscious and aware of the happiness and joy that are already present in your life. At the end of each day, take a moment to say or write down Three Good Things. Chances are you’ll struggle to stop at three.
4. Know your Values
How you identify is incredibly important to happiness. And your personal identity comes from your values.
Values are a set of ideas about HOW you want to live your life; the kind of person you want to be; and the principles you want to stand for. If life was one complete journey, then a value would be a path you choose to follow. Consider values as a kind of ethical GPS we can use to navigate through life.
See the list of values in the table and have a think about which you feel most aligned with. Once you’re clearer on what your personal values are, you’ll find it easier to value and prioritise the things that make you happy.
5. Find your Flow State
Have you ever been so engaged in an activity that you lost all sense of time? Hours passed, but you didn’t notice – you felt calm, focused, deeply satisfied, even meditative? This is the Flow State. The Flow state is the optimal state of human consciousness. Research shows that the more often you experience it, the greater the sense of wellbeing, happiness and general life satisfaction.
Psychologists describe flow as having 6 core components:
- Complete concentration on the task at hand – our thoughts and actions become one.
- The sense of self decreases and the ego is quietened
- Our perception of time changes
- The sense of anxious struggle disappears
- The sense of control increases – the task provides immediate feedback which helps with the psychological immersion
- The task becomes a pleasurable experience in and of itself
Flow has been shown to make people up to 500% more productive; 600% more creative; and increase thinking power so much it can cut learning times in half! Flow can even make us more empathetic.
When in flow we feel utterly content and in control of our world and we feel totally aligned to our purpose – our thoughts and actions are one and the same.
If your job doesn’t put you in flow state, that’s fine – try to find ways of accessing flow state in your personal time. If you are not sure where to start – try to think of something that you loved to do as a child – building lego, painting, playing an instrument; games. Play is another crucial ingredient for happiness that we often forget in adulthood.
Mark Blue Monday 2024 at your Workplace
If you want to do something to mark Blue Monday 2024 at your workplace, see our suggestions below.