Feeling a little blue today? Join the club.
Today has already been declared the most depressing day of the year. In fact, it has a name: Blue Monday.
Over the years, researchers have found that the first Monday after New Year’s Day is the roughest on our psyches. Folks are depressed about heading back to work, braving the cold weather, facing post-holiday debt, and realizing those New Year’s resolutions are already bombing. Even our tweets are depressing today, according to one study.
I gotta say, I’m not surprised. We are so damn hard on ourselves, we become pros at playing hard-to-get with happiness.
This was so apparent to me recently, as I chatted with the mom of one of my kid’s friends. By our culture’s standards, she has it made. She has a fancy-pants job. She has a huge house, beautifully decorated. She has a nanny who cooks and cleans and carpools. Sounds pretty great, right? And yet every time I see this mom, she’s a walking ball of stress, disappointed or depressed by something her life – her kids, their school, her husband, her job, the weather.
“Maybe if I lowered my expectations, I’d be happier,” she told me one day. The thing is, I know lots of people whose happiness strategy is to keep their expectations low simply so they won’t be disappointed. And that doesn’t result in deep joy either.
So what’s the answer? Well, how about this…
How about expecting the best without placing limitations on how the best will come to be?
How about allowing space and time in our lives to discover what actually brings us great pleasure, rather than expecting it to come from the things that seem to make other people happy?
How about counteracting every moment of disappointment with a quick hit of gratitude for something else?
How about trusting that God (or whatever you call the loving force that brought you here) wants us to be happy and continually offers opportunities – new friendships, new lessons, new venues – for discovering goodness?
How about eliminating the parameters we’ve placed around what happiness is and how to achieve it, so that we can feel it percolating within us all the time?
Happiness wants to be part of your life, every day. How about it?