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With “Blue Monday”, are we conditioned to have a bad day?


DECRYPTION - According to a popular marketing hoax, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year.

Originally a mathematical formula.

In 2005, Cliff Arnal, an Irish psychologist, reflects on the most depressing day of the year.

For him, no doubt, it's the third Monday of January.

Why ?

Because this day concentrates the conditions of the disaster.

Jumble: the start of the work week, freezing winter weather, an empty wallet after Christmas, little or no vacation in prospect… And very often, the abandonment of new resolutions has already been recorded.

To perfect his deception and lend it a scientific consistency, the professor invents a mathematical formula.

But no one is fooled.

The formula does not make sense, the units are not even defined

”, confirms Nicolas Gauvrit, teacher-researcher in cognitive sciences at the University of Lille.


There is nothing rigorous or scientific about it


Mathematical formula:


for meteo (weather);


for debts after Christmas;


for time elapsed since Christmas;


for time elapsed since New Year's resolutions;


for lack of motivation and


for need to act.

Screenshot - Wikipedia “Blue Monday”.

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

Fortunately, therefore, January 16 is not the most depressing day of the year 2023. At least, no scientific evidence comes to validate this thesis.

But if not accurate, could this theory have effects on morale?

Creator Cliff Arnal called it a "self-

fulfilling prophecy

" himself.

Would we be more depressed at the idea of ​​going through this famous “Blue Monday”?

A priori, no.

Several studies in the 1980s showed that if people thought they were more depressed on Mondays (of any week), they were wrong.


People imagine or project their feeling of depression, but we don't actually verify it

," explains Nicolas Gauvrit.

Read alsoHow neuroscience opens the black box of our dreams

When we ask people to rate their mood throughout the week, we realize that it remains unchanged from Monday to Thursday

,” continues the expert.

Only the last three days of the week are synonymous with joy.


Thus, it is likely that in the same way, this famous 'Blue Monday'

will not have an effect on people, even if they are convinced of it


The very idea that Monday is a more depressing day than the others is wrong.

The researcher agrees: “

The only data we have dates from before 2005, when we were already talking about Monday in a pejorative way;

we had noticed that investors took less economic risk that day…


But there are several possible explanations.


Of course, it could come from a little feeling of depression, but people take less risk especially at the beginning of the week because they are patient and know that there are several days behind

," he says.

A difficult month

Moreover, even if the "blue Monday" had effects, it would be difficult to guess the exact nature.

Faced with this type of information, two reactions are possible: on the one hand depression, driven by the certainty of facing a difficult day;

and on the other hand, on the contrary, a personal investment to avoid sadness

”, explains Nicolas Gauvrit.

Finally, the last difficulty comes from the fact that this world day, like many others, is not necessarily known to the general public.

I didn't really know this day, I discovered it on the internet last year,

says Juliette*, 20

, and honestly it doesn't really affect my mood



But in any way, it's a difficult time, the month of January

," she continues.

The student evokes the cold, the partials, the lack of money, but also the strikes to come, specific to the calendar of the year 2023. "

There are also some physiological factors which can give this type of feeling

", evokes a psychiatrist from the 18th arrondissement of Paris.

The lack of light during this period of the year can for example play a role


For the psychiatrist, however, this day can convey false ideas about the real causes of depression: “

generalized depression that lasts only one day is not one

,” she complains.

For her, this type of event could obscure the true factors of the disease.

Source: lefigaro

All tech articles on 2023-01-16

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