Mondays Aren’t As Bad As You Think
According to a new study, Mondays aren’t nearly as depressing as you think they are:
There are many beliefs about the patterning of positive and negative mood over the course of the week. Support has been found for ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ and Weekdays versus Weekend effects, although in relatively small studies and often with student samples. Using telephone questionnaire data from a large national survey (N = 340,000), we examined day-of-week (DOW) effects on positive and negative moods. Unlike prior studies, we also tested the potential moderating effects of four demographic variables on DOW. Strong support was found for better mood on weekends and Fridays, but there was minimal support for a Blue Monday effect and no differences were observed between Saturdays and Sundays. Demographics moderated some DOW effects: DOW effects were diminished for older and retired respondents, but there was little DOW difference by gender or presence of a partner. DOW is associated with mood, but not always in ways we believe.
A clear pattern emerged, with people reporting far more positive mood and far less negative mood on Saturdays and Sundays, compared with weekdays… Although not as dramatic as the weekend effect, there was also evidence of enhanced mood on Fridays, relative to other days of the week – supporting popular belief in a “Thank God It’s Friday!” effect. But comparing mood on Mondays against mood on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays revealed no evidence of a dip.
“Despite our global beliefs about lousy Mondays, we conclude that this belief should, in general, be abandoned,” the researchers said.
So why do we all think Mondays are so bad? Why is “I hate Mondays” a near universal refrain? Well, blame it on popular culture:
You woke up this morning and thought, “Oh boy, Monday.” Mondays are the worst. Everyone understands this universal fact. We have cases of the Mondays, the Monday blues, and Monday is the most common day for suicide.
In fact the “most depressing day of the year” is on a Monday. Dubbed “Blue Monday,” it falls on the third Monday in January. Turns out, that’s not real either. As Ben Goldacre points out, the premise of “Blue Monday” was dreamed up by Sky Travel, a PR company, just in time for people to take a summer holiday. How convenient.
Another study, last year, found that it takes people in Britain until exactly 11:16 a.m. to smile on Mondays. That study was funded by Marmite, a food spread. Which explains why the smiling time fell exactly in the middle of the traditional morning tea break taken by British workers – and the most likely time they’d eat Marmite.
So, it turns out you like Mondays just fine. So stop complaining.
H/T: Andrew Sullivan