Is today really 'Feel Good Friday?' Here's why one psychologist says it adds up

·5 min read
A psychologist has revealed his formula to suggest the most joyful day of the year. (Getty Images)
A psychologist has revealed his formula to suggest the most joyful day of the year. (Getty Images)

With our heartbreak over England's loss in the Euros final still in our minds and headlines about the 'pingdemic' continuing to dominate, it might seem like there's not much to celebrate right now. 

But things could well be looking up as today, Friday 23 July, is officially the most joyful day of the year for Brits, according to one psychologist.

Dr Cliff Arnall teamed up with gifting and rewards company Appreciate Group to reveal that 'Feel Good Friday' could be the cheeriest day on the calendar thanks to a combination of long daylight hours, the start of the holidays and the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

So why exactly is today meant to be so joyous? 

After assessing a host of factors, Dr Arnall has discovered that a number of elements are aligning to make this a day to be celebrated including it being the first Friday after so called 'Freedom Day' and also the first NHS pay day after restrictions eased on Monday. 

Today is also expected to see us all stepping away from our smartphones as our social media usage is expected to decrease as we rediscover our social lives post-lockdown. 

Read more: UK slips down global happiness rankings with mental health a 'COVID casualty'

Dr Arnall has even turned his research into a handy formula to identify the day we'll reach peak joy summed up as: N + S + F2 + P + (A x SK) - SM

N is for being outdoors and appreciating Nature in full bloom and without restrictions.

S is more than 16 hours of Sunshine, with the sun rising just after 5am and setting just after 9pm.

F2 is for spending quality time with and rebuilding emotional and physical connections with Family and Friends (F2), which has been challenging for millions of people experiencing isolation during the pandemic.

P is because Fridays are the most popular Paydays for Brits, and it will be the first post-'Freedom Day' payday for many of us, including our beloved NHS workers this year.

Optimistic Attitudes are also more likely, with restrictions lifted and life beginning to return to some degree of normality. 

Combined with self-kindness and kindness to others, this is expected to build our confidence, self-esteem and mood this summer.

The first pay day after Freedom Day could be a source of happiness for some. (Getty Images)
The first pay day after Freedom Day could be a source of happiness for some. (Getty Images)

Read more: This is how much money you need to earn each year in order to be happy, finds study

And finally, with the return of physical contact, more travel and greater in-person social interactions between people there’s an expectation that Social Media use will lessen from Friday, 23rd July.

“Happiness can be a simple, fleeting moment, but joy is much deeper than that," Dr Arnall says of the formula. "It’s about us connecting more closely with ourselves and also with others through shared experiences.

“Feel Good Friday sees further reopening of the world after the pandemic and gives us more opportunities to step away from a screen, enjoy nature, spend time with loved ones, experience the things we’ve all desperately missed during the restrictions, and take time to make up for those lost moments and lost experiences that bring us true joy.

"So, now it’s on us all to safely make the most of the freedoms we’ll experience from now on, and I hope 23rd July is a joyful day for millions of us.”

Watch: How being optimistic can actually help you live longer. 

But before you crack open the champagne in celebration of the happiest day of the year, it's worth keeping in mind that while the factors listed may offer some of us a reason to be cheerful, others may not be feeling quite so perky right now. 

"Everyone’s different, and we respond to events in different ways, based on our circumstances and background, so not everyone will be feeling good at the moment," Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder/co-CEO of My Online Therapy explains.

"For many, the easing of lockdown restrictions when cases are rising will be very anxiety-provoking - especially for those who are vulnerable, have been shielding or who already struggled with anxiety before. 

"And the start of school holidays can bring its own pressures, whether financial or childcare-related," she adds. 

Read more: The areas of England with the happiest and healthiest people

With school holidays starting many parents will be facing childcare issues, which may take the shine off any joy. (Getty Images)
With school holidays starting many parents will be facing childcare issues, which may take the shine off any joy. (Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Dr Arnall was also responsible for uncovering the formula for Blue Monday, which has come in for marked criticism, not only for being a marketing ploy, but also because labelling one day as the most depressing day of the year, can be upsetting for mental health sufferers who battle with the condition regardless of what day it is.

Even Dr Arnall has admitted the idea of a single most depressing day was "not particularly helpful" because it became "a self-fulfilling prophecy" and that achieving happiness should be a year-round aim.

He said dates such as Blue Monday should instead be used to "get a bit of perspective" about our own lives.

That advice could apply equally to Feel Good Friday, so those of us who aren't feeling particularly joyous could use the date as an opportunity to assess their mental wellbeing and take steps to address that. 

But no matter how you're feeling today, Dr Touroni says it is important to look after yourself and practice self-care - and also be mindful that not everyone will be feeling good this Friday.

Watch: What the world thinks about social media and depression. 

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