Blue Monday Is Coming!
Sometimes, we look for happiness in the wrong places
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider where true happiness can be found.
Preparation and materials
Little preparation is needed for this assembly, but if you would like extra information about Blue Monday, it is available at: http://www.national-awareness-days.com/blue-monday.html
It’s official: Monday 16 January 2017 will be the most miserable day of the year! According to a psychologist called Cliff Arnall, the third Monday in January is always the most depressing day of the year. Monday 16 January 2017 is officially known as Blue Monday.
So why do you think this particular Monday should be miserable? (Answers may include the fact that Christmas is over, but paying for Christmas is far from over; the bad weather seems to be here to stay; the mornings are dark and the evenings even darker; all of our New Year’s resolutions are broken, but not yet forgotten; there’s nothing to look forward to; and, on top of all that, it’s Monday morning yet again.)
If you weren’t depressed before hearing that list of doom and gloom, you probably are now!
However, we all want to be happy. In fact, the King of Bhutan once made the famous statement, ‘Gross national happiness is more important than gross national product.’ He would prefer his people to be happy rather than rich.
The pursuit of happiness is one of the most important driving forces in our society. But where do we look for happiness? Let’s consider the following statements. Do you agree with them? (Optional: you may wish to ask the students to clap, cheer or raise their hands if they agree with each statement.)
- If I had the perfect girlfriend, I would be happy.
- Happiness is winning the lottery.
- I would be happy if I never had to go to school again.
- Happiness is partying on a Saturday night.
- If I passed all my exams, I would be happy.
- Happiness is surfing on a beach in Australia.
We search for happiness in experiences and possessions outside ourselves, but it’s often what’s going on inside that matters. Research has shown that increased wealth hardly affects happiness. We have heard it said that money can’t buy happiness and it seems that it is true.
Inner fulfilment and well-being are priceless. Happiness on the inside is what counts.
In the Bible, there is a verse that says, ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for God has said “I will never leave you or forsake you.”’ So the love of money is nothing new. It did not come about with the invention of the credit card and the building of shopping centres. Even 2,000 years ago, the writer of this verse knew that the secret of happiness could not be found in accumulating wealth.
Some of us find it very hard to be content. The previous Bible verse told us to ‘be content with what you have’. We should be thankful for the things that we so often take for granted: a roof over our heads; food on the table; a wardrobe full of clothes to wear; clean water; and doctors and teachers, and all the other people who make our lives safe.
In the previous Bible verse, God said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ True happiness is to be found in relationships. Relationships with God, with our friends, with those in our family – those who will always be there for us, never leaving us, never abandoning us. There are people in the world who have everything that money can buy, yet they are very lonely and unhappy.
Time for reflection
Let us reflect on happiness as we end our time together.
Think about how you are feeling at this moment.
- What are you happy about?
- What are you unhappy about?
- What do you have to be thankful for right now?
- Who makes you happy?
Give thanks for them here and now.
How could you create some good news today? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a very happy Blue Monday!
‘Monday, Monday’ by the Mamas and the Papas