Yesterday was blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year. Apart form being an absolute fabrication, it does highlight another often misunderstood idea - depression.
The pursuit of happiness
The pursuit of happiness is at the heart of western culture, and in the US is a constitutional right. The problem with the pursuit of happiness lies with the nature of happiness. Happiness, is about feeling happy. And feeling happy, like all feelings, is transient. It is deemed to pass, a fleeting moment of a high state, an illusive outcome that disappears as quick as it appears.
What are emotions?
Emotions are a rise in affect, which we process and regulate, and then we move into the next rise in affect. A little bit like breathing - you can only hold your breath for so long until your body exhales, and then you inhale again, and the cycle continues.
What often happens when we buy into happiness as a goal, or a measurement of well being, is that we might also buy into the idea that any other emotions are bad: Happiness - result. Anything else - failure, unnecessary, unhealthy. Which means that when we feel sad, or fearful, or angry - we are somehow not OK, we are not trying hard enough at thinking positively, manifesting wellness, or reaching our goals and objectives.
Emotions are data. They are a compass, a gauge for our inner world and our ability to relate.
We can’t pick and choose our emotions, they are an input, as well as the output. If we ignore our emotions, pretend they don't matter, suppress them, or anaesthetise them with work, food, alcohol, we loose our compass. We get depressed.
The opposite of depression is expression, not happiness.
Blue Monday, like any other emotion, will pass. Find a way to attend to, and express your emotions, whatever they are, in a safe and respectful way. You might find happiness too.