According to Cliff Arnall, a former tutor at Cardiff University, the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year. His calculations take in a number of factors, with the day dubbed “Blue Monday” being picked on such bases as levels of debt, time since Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions and low motivation levels.
While the veracity of Mr Arnall’s mathetics has been called into question by some, there is no doubt tha this date seems pretty depressing. For students it is arguably even worse, with the beginning of the Spring term signalling the approach of assessed essays, the frightening revision period looming on the horizon and the need to work out summer occupation.
This is why the Optimists’ Society has countered the entire concept by designating that day – this year, January 18 – International Optimism Day. According to the organisation’s Facebook page, everybody is encouraged to take actions such as writing a list of simple pleasures, speaking to someone new and someone from the past, performing a random act of kindness and saying yes to something you would normally decline.
Regardless of how many people actually did this two weeks ago, the idea is surely laudable; in a country dominated by pessimism and cynicism, having everyone make the effort to think positively on a day when they should theoretically be miserable is beautiful.
While it may in fact sound pessimistic to say so, however, it is a shame that there has to be a day especially set aside for optimism. It does say something about our collective mindset that our default position is one of pessimism, or at least ambivalence. Why can we not be constantly hopeful for the future and contented with our lot in life?
Still, enough of that negativity, as it is against the spirit of this piece. The Boar hopes you had a delightful International Optimism Day. Whatever this term has in store for you, we hope you can take it with a smile and, if not, just keep your eye on the light at the other end of the tunnel. I hope the extent to which this paragraph is ridden with clichés underlines our sincerity in this sentiment.