I love the fact that quite a few people called “b.s.” on the media frenzy surrounding Blue Monday this year. (If you don’t know, in England, Blue Monday—generally the third Monday of January—is believed to be the most depressing day of the year.)
Of course, it’s quite frankly ridiculous that there would be one day of the year when we’re more likely to be miserable or even outright depressed. And I think it’s somewhat disrespectful to those people who truly struggle throughout the year to suggest that because Christmas is over, or because it’s raining or because we have to pay our credit card bills, that we’re all going to feel terrible.
Why, oh, why would anyone feel the need to remind us that we’re meant to feel miserable? To justify how we might be feeling? And why would we choose to believe it?
So, in the spirit of equity, I thought I'd set out for you my top ten ways you can make yourself miserable—on any day of the year:
1. Contract a bad case of “comparison-itis:”
- Look around to find people who have the life that you want.
- Line up all the things that you don’t have or that you aren’t good at and compare them, in great detail, to all the things that they have and that they are good at.
- Absolutely ignore all things that you do have and all the things they don't have.
- If you can, find someone famous or a stranger on Instagram who has thousands of followers with whom to compare yourself. That way, there’s no chance of you ever seeing what's really going on behind the scenes.
2. Start “shoulding” all over yourself:
- Use the word “should” as much as you can.
- Adopt your “shoulds' from the media, from the majority, from your parents—anyone else's expectations will do, as long as they’re not your own.
3. Believe that your inner voice only tells you facts, not feelings:
- Believe whatever thoughts might pop into your head, particularly if they're negative ones about yourself, without any doubt or questioning.
- If you can extrapolate, dramatize or distort reality, then go for your life.
4. Slap a nice negative label on your own forehead:
- If you can find one example of yourself portraying a negative trait, then give yourself a great big label and use it as often as you can to excuse or justify your behavior. (This is especially useful if you want to justify a lack of action on your part.)
- I find the very best ones including: “I'm just lazy,” “I can't do that” and “I'm boring.” But feel free to come up with your own.
5. Believe that someone/something else can make you feel a negative emotion:
- The way that you feel is entirely determined by external events and the things that other people do and/or say.
- You have no control over your own mind, and you have no choice about how you interpret or react to a given situation.
6. Spend your days living in another time in your head:
- If you can mull over and ruminate on things that have happened in the past, do that.
- If you can, also worry about things that may or may not happen in the future. That’s a bonus!
- Whatever you do, don't focus on what’s going on in your world right now.
7. Tell yourself “I'll be happy when…:”
- Find something that you want to change or improve about yourself or your life.
- Then decide that you won't be happy until you've gotten there or achieved it.
8. Take a binary approach to life:
- Be extreme in your approach. Use the words “always” and “never” as often as you can, particularly about yourself.
- Never consider moderation or the possibility of any kind of middle ground or grey area.
- Things are always black or white, wrong or right, good or bad, about success or failure.
9. Aim for perfection in every way:
- Set the bar as high as you can in every part of your life.
- Do not accept the concept that some things can just be “good enough.”
10. Think more, act less:
- If there is an opportunity to overthink something a bit more, then do it.
- Try to avoid getting into action, as this will only give you experience, help you learn and build your confidence—none of which will make you miserable.
So, there you have it. That’s my easy-to-follow guide for making yourself miserable and, if you work really hard at it, perhaps every day can become a Blue Monday.
Of course, if you recognize any of the above patterns and feel you’d actually rather be happy, then congratulations! It sounds like you’re ready to change the way that you think and feel. — Hana Manthorpe
Hana Manthorpe is a mindset coach in London. Having navigated a journey to get to know her own mind over the last 10 plus years, she now helps other perfectly imperfect people with their thinking. She finds people fascinating and loves to write thought-provoking pieces about how our minds work and we can make ourselves happier. Learn more about The Mental Movement here.