The Blue Monday myth exposed

  • The sneaky truth behind Blue Monday 
  • How a recovering survivor found a link between vitamin D and cancer 
  • How to reduce your flu risk by 42%


How did you get on with ‘Blue Monday’?

If you don’t already know it was on the 20th January, which is now enshrined in lore as ‘the most depressing day of the year’.

In my opinion, this is the silliest of the new ‘special days’ of the year we have now.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were all about sales offers.

But what is Blue Monday about?

Well, despite everyone thinking it’s a real psychological phenomenon…

It’s really about sales offers too.

You see, back in 2004, psychologist Cliff Arnall tried to work out a formula for the most depressing day of the year.

So he came up with this:

[W+(D-d)] x TQ / MxNA

Here’s the key to the equation:

  • W = weather
    • D = debt
    • d = monthly salary
    • T = time since Christmas
    • Q = time since failure of attempt to give something up
    • M = low motivational level
    • NA = the need to take action

As a result of all this, he came up with the third Monday in January as the one in which you’re most likely to feel down in the dumps.

But you don’t really need an equation to work it out, do you?

It doesn’t take a scientist, a doctor, a psychologist or a mathematician to work out why a Monday in the middle of January might be considered miserable by many people.

More significantly, he didn’t do this for the good of the nation’s mental health…

The sneaky truth behind Blue Monday

He was asked to do this by the Sky Television Travel Channel as a marketing idea to encourage people to think about their summer trips.

But fifteen years on, this idea has entered the mainstream consciousness, causing people to become potentially MORE anxious at this time of year than they did before!

Dr Philip Clarke, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Derby told the BBC this month:

“I started speaking out against Blue Monday when I saw companies were trying to use it as an excuse to sell things… the key thing to remember is that Blue Monday isn’t scientifically proven – there’s not even proof January sees a rise in mental health referrals although it may seem that way.”

Of course, there is an issue at this time of year with ‘the January blues’ which can sometimes be down to a lack of natural sunlight, which leaves many people with a drastic vitamin D deficiency.

So getting light therapy is a good idea if you can afford it, or try and get more vitamin D through food, like milk, eggs, mushrooms and fish – or from a ‘whole food’ based supplement like this one: Vitamin D3.

On the subject of vitamin D, a Good Life Letter reader sent in some very interesting information this week about a non-profit public health research company called Grassroots Health.

The link between vitamin D and cancer

In 2007, an American woman named Carole Baggerly was recovering from breast cancer treatment.

She found a research website which showed evidence that vitamin D levels could be a preventative measure against breast cancer. This surprised her a lot.

Carole wondered why had she never heard this before?

After all, she had gone through the treatment process without one medical professional suggesting it.

So she started to gather together vitamin D experts to find more information, which she collected under the name Grassroots Health. This organisation now consists of 48 senior vitamin D researchers across the globe.

Baggerly says:

“There are a number of websites that talk about breast cancer prevention. They talk about diet, which is good, they talk about exercise, which is very good, and a whole bunch of other factors, all of which are good and wholeheartedly recommended.

But if I can cut 80 percent of [cancer incidence] with one thing, by golly, that ought to be first! Keep doing the diet, that’s good for you, and the exercise, but don’t forget the vitamin D, that’s major.”

There’s an element of controversy to her outspoken views, but even if you leave aside the issue of cancer, there is so much more to vitamin D.

As you might recall, I talked about how in 2017, a study published in the British Medical Journal showed that daily vitamin D supplements could prevent more than three million people a year falling ill with a cold or chest infection. They concluded that it could HALVE your chances of getting a respiratory infection.

To reinforce this idea, Grassroots have some great new research on colds and flu…

How to reduce your flu risk by 42%

In December 2019, they released preliminary data regarding the effect of vitamin D on rates of colds and flu that make fascinating reading.

Here is the chart – if it’s difficult to see on your screen, don’t worry, I’ll relay the important bits below…

The vitamin D level is the line that runs along the bottom of the chart…

While on the left is the percentage of participants who experienced a cold or flu in the past 6 months.

As you can see, the reports of cold (the blue top line) and flu (bottom red line) drop steadily as the amounts of vitamin D taken increase.

As the vitamin D rises to more than 50mg/ml, the statistics are remarkable:

  • 21% fewer people getting the cold…
  • 42% fewer experiencing the flu…

So this is another good reason to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D this winter.

A big thanks to Good Life Letter reader Chris for sending that in!

If you’re interested in getting more vitamin D, you can try some through our shop here: Vitamin D That Works Like Real Food

That’s it from me. I hope you can get out into some natural sunlight this weekend, however briefly!