And here it comes. The legendary, even mythological day. As soon as the joys of the Christmas period fall behind the festive table, we look for it with fear on the horizon. Of course, we are talking about BLUE MONDAY. Blue Monday is referred to as the most gloomy day of the year. Not only is Monday always a difficult experience, after two days of sleeping until 10, now it’s also Blue. Well, wonderful.
But is there really anything to be afraid of? Where did this “holiday” come from?
And if we are still feeling blue about Monday, how can we boost our mood?
The concept of Blue Monday was developed by Cliff Arnall in 2004. He set this date based on several factors, including: meteorological (how short the day is, and our exposure to The Sun’s rays), psychological (reviewing our New Year’s resolutions), economic (the fast approaching date of loan repayments for the indulgences of the festive holidays).
Based on the previous assumptions, the following formula was created:
• W – weather;
• D – debt, debit;
• d – monthly salary;
• T – time since Christmas;
• Q – failure to keep New Year’s resolutions;
• M – motivational level;
• Na – a sense of need to take action.
Source: Blue Monday
It is interesting that Arnall was persuaded to set this date by a British travel agency who wanted to determine the best day to buy a trip. And that means that the purpose of this math was purely marketing.
Blue Monday is a marketing ploy, however the feeling of sadness found in winter is a real problem.
As for the above formula, there is no scientific basis to support this theory (even statistics). The fact is that there are seasons that affect our well-being and generally we feel worse in winter than in summer. And here the other main characters of today’s post come to the rescue, namely happiness hormones 😉
What are happiness hormones and how can we stimulate their production?
During research on endorphins, it was pointed out that these hormones are very similar to opioids, which include, among others, morphine. Endorphin is short for endogenous (produced inside the body) morphine. Endorphins can block pain, reduce stress levels, and put the body in a state of euphoria. The production of endorphins block the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Ways to get the endorphins flowing:
- Laughter – Everyone knows that laughter is healthy, but the interesting thing is that the production of endorphins is stimulated just by thinking about it. One way to get into a good mood is laughter yoga.
- Chocolate – It stimulates the release of these “feel good” hormones. It is worth paying attention to chocolate with a higher cocoa content (at least 70-80%).
- Taking a Cold Shower – Thus, also cold water swimming. Taking a dip in into the cold waters helps to push our bodies, which in turn helps to produce endorphins. It’s a challenge some of our staff know all too well 😉
- Relaxation – It’s good to incorporate moments of relaxation into your daily routine and think about what really makes you happy. It can be a relaxing massage, dancing, listening to good music, as well as meditation. The most important thing is to realize how important it is to regenerate our body and find time for it.
- Hot spices – Your body associates eating spicy food with pain. To relieve it our body begins to produce endorphins. The spicier the product, the stronger their production. So go grab that chili to munch on if you’re feeling brave.
- Physical effort – Our body, when in motion, generously gives us happiness hormones. During physical activity, our body’s metabolism changes, which acts like stress relief. After prolonged physical effort, athletes are resistant to pain and fatigue. This phenomenon is called “runner’s euphoria” for a reason.
I wonder how many of you will now think – “I had a Multisport card somewhere…” 😉
The key information about serotonin is that it is formed as a result of the transformation of tryptophan. And that is supplied from eating. Serotonin has a very large impact on general well-being. It reduces anxiety and fear. It is also responsible for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Too little of this hormone can lead to a lower mood, as well as insomnia.
Ways to stimulate the secretion of serotonin:
- Your Diet – As you probably guessed, the key to stimulating the secretion of serotonin is a proper diet. Eat foods rich in tryptophan: poultry meat, red meat, eggs, dairy products, seafood, omega 3-rich fish (herring, salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout), oats, beans, chickpeas, nuts, whole grains, soybeans and soy products, bananas, dates, papayas… and many others. The aforementioned tryptophan is also involved in the synthesis of melatonin, so these products will also affect our circadian rhythm, and thus promote healthy sleep.
- Physical effort – “So, where was that card?” 😉
- Listening to classical music – Scientists (of course American) have proven that listening to Mozart increases the secretion of serotonin and dopamine.
- Aromatherapy – Examples of mood-enhancing fragrances include: lavender, rose, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, lemon balm and sandalwood.
Oxytocin is not only the love hormone, but it also stimulates us to interact socially. The most accurate term is the “attachment hormone”. It also stimulates trust and cooperation.
Ways to stimulate the secretion of oxytocin:
- Physical contact – Even a simple handshake releases small amounts of oxytocin. Therefore, physical contact with another person increases the level of trust.
- Appreciation and words of encouragement – The word has great power, a few words of sincere appreciation or comfort can significantly improve well-being.
- Feeling heard – Everyone wants to feel important, so let’s remember to give our interlocutor our full attention, without being distracted during conversation, even on the phone.
- Meditation – It allows you to be calm and reduce stress levels.
No, but wait a minute.. and where is the dopamine?
So much technology is based on our dopamine hunger, a recipe for instant gratification, that the level of this hormone should be skillfully balanced 😊
However, of course, it is necessary for us to live, because it stimulates us to act.
Even if “Blue Monday” doesn’t really exist there’s still the real need to look after yourself. Instead of believing in the doom and gloom of the day, take the time to create some of those happiness hormones. And make this day an excuse for you to take care of yourself and your health.