Timmy Ryan’s weekly column for the Waterford News & Star
THE Monday Blues; a scourge on people who have no real reason to dislike the day. They don’t particularly hate their job or their life; they just don’t like Mondays.
I’ve never subscribed to the whole ‘Monday Blues’ thing but if you consider Monday to be the enemy of your soul help is at hand. Let me introduce you to Doctor Andy Cope. He reckons he has found the answer to your woes. He’s been described as Britain’s first ‘doctor of happiness’. Just a little pressure attached to that role I’m thinking.
According to Dr. Cope learning to embrace the start of the week is the key to feeling happier overall. He claims kicking out the Monday blues is one of 10 steps everyone can take to feel more upbeat. He believes that giving generous hugs, cutting back on social media time and doing good deeds for others are all small ways to give yourself that boost.
He tells us that the first step is to fall in love with Mondays. Easier said than done for some I would say, but he’s big on this. Research deemed Monday as the worst day of the week for feeling downbeat. “Nobody likes Mondays and everyone celebrates Fridays,” he said. “Dare to buck the trend. Stand up for Mondays! You spend a 7th of your life on Monday so quit waiting for the weekend and learn to love the start of the week.”
He also wants us to hug more, something some of us love and others not so much.
Apparently the average hug lasts 2.1 seconds, but for the love to transfer a hug needs to last seven seconds or longer. Get that timer out.
Up next is the old reliable ‘count your blessings’. Think of what you are grateful for and remind yourself of it repeatedly. In truth, we can be a fairly unappreciative lot. Start with the simple things. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have access to running water? Do you have food to eat? See, you’re feeling better already.
Those of you who hate diets will probably go along with his next point. Quit whatever faddish diets you’re on and make the decision that, for the rest of your life, you’re just a healthy eater. Just decide. Make the right choices and become that person.
The next step might seem obvious. Get enough sleep. Dr Cope says, “Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that enables you to live longer, enhances your memory, makes you more creative, more attractive, slimmer, wards off flu, lowers your risk of heart attack and results in raised levels of happiness.” It’s sleep. He recommends not skimping on a full eight hours kip.
Be kind to others is step 6 and the good Doc believes the quickest way to feel good is to do something for someone else. Have we heard this before? Giving beats receiving comes to mind. I kind of wonder if Dr. Cope got his Bible out, or perhaps an old Reader’s Digest in his waiting room at the clinic?
Step 7 is simply about plain old water. We’re not getting enough and are suffering as a result. Dehydration is to be avoided and it will help ward off dry skin and fatigue too.
On to number 8 on the Cope List. Cut back on the Facebooking. Andy says, “No explanation required, other than to remind you that in terms of happiness, one true flesh and blood friend will bring you more happiness than 1,000 Facebook ones.”
He suggests cutting back by 50 percent and actually spend time with real family and friends instead. Can’t really argue with him on that to be fair.
Nearly there, we’re up to 9 on the Cope Countdown. He advises to “multiply experiences”. ‘The general rule is that happiness comes from doing stuff rather than accumulating stuff. He tells us that if you think about the top 10 happiest moments of your life you will find they are “experiences” rather than “products”. It makes sense then to set out to have more experiences.
Right then, we have reached the final stop on the Cope Camino and here’s his no.10 suggestion. This one revolves around ditching those bad habits that might be stifling your better life plans. Cope says that feeling amazing is about starting new happiness habits, but it’s equally about giving up bad habits. He urges us to ask the following question: what am I willing to give up in order to experience more happiness in my life? Maybe stop procrastinating, watch less TV, cut Facebook from your life, no more low-level grumbling, no more junk food, get up earlier?
On reflection this happiness game is not rocket science. Dr. Cope is really only spouting age old wisdom that we have all heard over and over again. Sadly, and here’s the painful truth, it’s not that we don’t know what to do, it’s that we don’t do what we know. We have that last glass of wine although we know it will tip us over the edge for the morning. We put off going out for a good walk and so we keep the unwanted pounds on.
I’m actually thankful for the Andy Cope’s of this world. He tells us we can change and shows us how simple it is to do so. It all boils down to good old fashioned desire at the end of the day. How badly do we want to change? Now that the dark nights are drawing in Dr. Cope has your answer staring you in the face. It might be all 10 steps or just a tweak here and there.
Whatever about the Go Karting, maybe it’s at least time for you to have a slightly less grumpy Monday. It will do you good and the rest of us who have been putting up with you. Now there’s a parting thought for you to mull over. Have a fantastic week.