A couple of things this week.
Firstly, just referring back to the message of last week about ‘Blue Monday’. It was interesting and reassuring to read on the BBC website that, according to psychologists Blue Monday is ‘a load of rubbish’. The phrase was coined by a psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004. He came up with this concept after a holiday company asked him for a scientific formula for the January blues. Unsurprisingly, there was nothing scientific about it. In general, it is a contrived concept to encourage people to spend money and to ensure that companies have an excuse to sell things. It’s understandable that people might feel down in January, just after the Christmas holidays, having spent time with family, overindulging and it’s dark outside but there is nothing scientific to prove that Blue Monday exists. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any proof that there is an increase in mental health referrals in January, when compared to other months.
Secondly, random acts of kindness. I’ve been drawn this week to the concept of a ‘random act of kindness’. I am encouraged when I work with or talk to a whole range of colleagues and students that, even in these most cynical of times, there is a movement behind the view that being kind to people, doing the right thing, seeing people for who they are not and what you perceive them to be, is still very important.
It never fails to amaze me that young people do (on the whole) seem to understand that they are part of something more thoughtful, something which goes beyond their immediate world or neighbourhood. They understand that they are part of a community – however big that community may well be defined by then.
Now, tying these two pieces together – Blue Monday and random acts of kindness. I do very much believe that there is genuine hope in facing up to how we feel, in respect of our mental health. And that giving something and just being kind can actually be something of a boost for one’s natural defence mechanisms and systems. People do feel better when they’re kind and when they give. Maybe that’s the way to deal with the January blues?
‘Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see’ Mark Twain
And for the much-loved Terry Jones …
‘Now, you listen here! He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!’
I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. I hope that someone is kindly towards you and that you can find some time to be kind to someone else.