Blue Monday

Blue Monday: Myth Or Reality?

Blue Monday is not the saddest day of the year because of many marketing campaigns that try to convince us otherwise. The cost of January, the economic hardships due to Christmas and the mere fact that the week begins, do not imply that our emotional well- being has to be altered, although as Silvia Álava , doctor of clinical psychology and health, explains: “at having a pre-established idea in our head that something is going to go wrong, makes us go looking for the action that confirms it.” The mere fact of believing that one day it will be catastrophic becomes the motive that triggers a gray date.

You say that, on social networks, we only post the projection of our lives. A universe where you constantly tend to compare yourself with others, precisely because all that appears are idyllic lives. Is it possible to live a full life if you are surrounded by unattainable stimuli that seem to keep devaluing yours?

I think so, it will depend a lot on other factors such as our personality variables. In some chapters of the book what we say is: “if you want to be unhappy, spy on your neighbor”. Today it is enough for you to look at social networks and not everyone there, but a large percentage of people, upload a wonderful projected life that seems like they are always on vacation or doing cool things, without a trace of photos on the someone go a little wrong. This is a problem when we engage in social comparison, in “I am less than others, I do less interesting things” or when we use them as an “emotional anesthetic”, that is, to evade our own feelings, to not realize that permission to feel and see what is happening to us and to know our interior to learn to be better with ourselves.

Does The Imposition Of Permanent Happiness Or That Need That Society Creates For Us To Be Happy At All Costs, Where There Is No Room For Sadness, Make Us Unhappier?

It makes us unhappier at the moment that we have believed that this was possible. If we have really thought that happiness is being well every day, doing things that we like, wonderful and stupendous, you are going to buy all the ballots not only to be unhappy but to be quite bad, because life has pleasant things and unpleasant things Even if you have the most wonderful job in the world, one day you will have to do things that you don’t feel like doing. Happiness is more about understanding how I am feeling, about understanding and knowing how to regulate those most unpleasant emotions so that they do not catch me and promoting pleasant emotions and living calmly, at ease with ourselves, being consistent with our values, with the person what are we.

Something that I also find very interesting is hedonic happiness, which in a certain way is linked to social class, because it is evident that certain experiences that promise us happiness: trips, restaurants, etc., are not affordable for all pockets.

That hedonic happiness that “I want to do very cool things” does not have to be only associated with the economic issue of “I am going to eat at a restaurant, I am going on a trip”, it can also be: “I make a plan with friends that is free” . It is that feeling of “I have to do things and do pleasant things”, it does not mean that it is not good, but it does mean that it must be completed with that part of the most pseudo harmonic happiness, knowing that you are building something for the future, beyond do just fun things, which of course you have to do, otherwise life would be pretty boring.

You also talk in the book about the director or director that we have inside, sometimes capable of creating authentic dramas and other times ideal and optimistic situations, although very unlikely. At what point can excessive fantasy become a problem?

There are people who create so many mental movies that they already have autobiographical series with several seasons (laughs). Fantasy is not bad, but it becomes a problem when we live in constant fear that something bad will happen, that we will fail at work, and then get kicked out, and have to leave our flat… that’s when I think a mental movie that is not giving me any type of pleasant emotion and that on top of that I don’t even know if it is going to be real, part of a magnification of a situation.

Sometimes we are our main enemy and we suffer uselessly. This: “put yourself in the worst and then you’re ready”, it’s not true, it doesn’t prevent. When you put yourself in the worst, in the hypothetical case that happens, you have already suffered twice, since you started to put yourself in the worst until it happened, and besides, when it happens you no longer have the strength or energy to face that problem; and if it does not happen, you have lost the opportunity to have been doing other more fun or pleasant things.

About , Blue Monday is it possible that this general malaise in the population that is expected on that date, despite not having any scientific basis, could be created? Can we get all these negative emotions infected by the mere fact that we are expected to have them?

It’s a very interesting question because  was not created by any psychologist or mental health person, but by a marketing company to sell airline tickets. In psychology there is something called cognitive bias, which consists in the fact that we cannot process all the information that surrounds us and many times the stimuli that we process are the ones that confirm the hypothesis that I have. I wake up on Monday saying: “it’s going to be a bad day” and then what happens is that I don’t process the good things, but the bad things I do. The coffee maker gets clogged and I immediately think: “I already knew I was going to have a bad day today” or the elevator breaks down and I think: “Of course, it’s Blue Monday”. These are things that can happen every day, but having a pre-established idea in your head that something is going to go wrong,

What Would You Say Are The Keys To Achieving Emotional Well-Being?

It will depend a lot on each person and their personality, but we can do many things to feel good. First of all, an active and good social network. Blue Monday Friends are a treasure in life and there are even many studies that say they are a protector against mental illness. Having a good support network that listens to us at a certain moment, with which we can vent our emotions, create and do pleasant and fun things is very important, as is the family, which is also a source of emotions.

It is also important to invest in the basic pillars of the building, if we do not sleep well, if we do not eat healthy and if we do not do a minimum of sport and move, Blue Monday it is more complicated. We must try to maximize pleasant emotions, doing things that we like, being kind to others, grateful, focusing on everything we have, avoiding rumination, what psychology do we mean by going over and over back to things, and above all, practice self-care. We need to take care of ourselves just as we take care of others. One of the techniques that I explain in the book is to try to talk to yourself as if you were a friend, avoid saying to yourself “how could you have been so stupid? , anyone can be misled, etc”. Stop treating us with all that hate. Don’t whip us. 

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