He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3 (NIV)
A British psychologist recently declared January 22 “Blue Monday“and the most depressing day of the year. Dr. Cliff Arnall chose this date for several reasons. He noted that Monday is the hardest day of the week as we typically cram a lot into a short weekend, get little rest and eat poorly on the weekends. As Monday, January 22, was exactly three weeks past New Year’s Day, credit card bills would be filling people’s mailboxes. Many would be struggling with credit card bills and suffering the consequences of post Christmas debt. In addition, winter weather with its dark days and longer nights affects people’s psyche. Finally, the euphoria of a new year and good intentioned resolutions has worn off and left only feelings of guilt, anxiety and failure. He predicted that all of these realizations would culminate three weeks into the New Year. Psychologists across Great Britain along with the news media began a campaign to encourage people to beat the effects of “Blue Monday.” Free counseling and other advice filled the air waves as the alarm reverberated around the western world. Warnings to check your psychological temperament and that of your loved ones along with the message, “You are not alone,” were intended to ease the anticipated commonly held sorrow and fear. After interviewing several leading psychologists, a list of ways to combat Blue Monday was compiled. At the top of each person’s advice was the admonition to count your blessings. Even in secular counseling practices, an attitude of gratitude was the best way to overcome Blue Monday. Exercises in recording reasons to be thankful such as spending a little time each day remembering the good times of the holiday season, gifts given, friendships and family put the current difficult period into perspective. I find it interesting that God, who is also called Wonderful Counselor, has been giving humans that same advice since Creation! The Bible is full of wise reminders to praise God, be grateful and sing songs of thanksgiving to Him. When we are at our lowest in a pit of despair, it may not seem natural to give thanks. In fact, it is the opposite of how most of us react. Instead, we whine and complain and Blue Monday turns into Blue Tuesday as day after day we focus on our problems. Instead, God calls us to look to Him, to make the choice to be grateful instead of depressed. Not only will it make us feel better, but others around us will notice the difference and God will be glorified through our dark times as well as the good ones. Can’t think of anything for which you can be thankful? Start with the Psalms which are full of good examples. Read them aloud. Even if you don’t feel them, just the act of reciting praise to God will change your heart and your attitude. Before you know it, a new song will be on your lips and things will look a lot less blue.