It has got to get better

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Congratulations, you've made it. You are a survivor.

Didn't realize you had it in you, did you? Didn't realize you could make it through the most depressing day of the year?

Didn't realize there was a most depressing day of the year?

You're not alone.

Bill Tancer of Time magazine did a story on this day. He interviewed Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, who has developed a theory and formula when the most depressing day of the year falls.

According Arnall, the third Monday of January -- a day he calls "Blue Monday" -- is the day when we will hit rock bottom. He factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions. This year, in Northwest Iowa, we can add cold weather and a snowstorm, kind of like the depression trifecta.

Tancer's article went a step further to research the depression angle. He examined online searches and found that online searches for "depression" are among the most popular searches sending traffic to health and medical sites.

According this search, our depression spikes reliably in mid-November every year, right in time for Thanksgiving, the launch of the holiday season. Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture antidepressants like Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Cymbalta hit their peak for traffic in late October and early November.

It's no wonder we are depressed this time of year. If you stop to think about all of the factors that are working against us: the subprime mortgage crisis, stormy, unpredictable weather, rising gas prices and the lack of sunlight this time of year, it's a wonder that we all aren't depressed.

But life is, as they say, what you make of it. Each and every day we make a conscious decision that affects our moods. We can either be ruled by outside forces, or make a conscious effort to fight towards the light.

Since we've made it through Blue Monday, the rest should be a piece of cake.