January 20, 2005

Predicting The Blues

Dr Cliff Arnall, of Cardiff University, has suggested that Monday, January 24th, will be the most depressing day of the year for British people, based on an equation he has devised.

His formula of melancholy is 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA. In plain English, this is a calculation, which takes into account several factors of influence on mood: The ‘W’ stands for weather, whilst ‘D-d’ represents debt minus money due on payday. ‘T’ is the time since Christmas. ‘Q’ is the failure to quit a bad habit. ‘M’ is general motivation. And ‘NA’ is the need to take action to make changes.

Since the introduction of the Puritanical work ethic, Mondays have ritually become a day of mourning for the lost excesses of freedom allowed on weekends. However, next Monday is predicted to be a particularly bleak one for the Brits. The dark, and often wet, January days, with the fresh memories of the relaxing Christmas period, disappointment with broken New Year’s resolutions, and the debts that come in tow with the season, make for a grim combination. That is certainly what the good doctor thinks.

Thankfully, I live in Tokyo. So, rather smugly, I will enjoy the usual crisp, dry, slightly warmer winters that occur here. On top of this, travelling in India was not expensive, and so very little debt was incurred over the Christmas season. Having learnt from previous failures, I also refrained from making any unsustainable New Year’s promises. All in all, January 24th is looking good for me here in Japan. It may even turn out to be the best day of my life. But then, a Monday is always a Monday, wherever you may be!

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