Recognize your mood -- and take back your Sundays

Monday , September 17, 2012 - 3:55 PM

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Monday gets a bad rap as being the week’s most miserable day. But ever since elementary school, Cortney Anderson’s true nemesis has been Sunday.

The unfinished homework. The race against the clock for a few last licks of freedom. The quiet that descends as everyone withdraws to prepare for the stress ahead. No matter the weather or proof otherwise, Anderson said, Sundays feel perpetually cloudy and short.

“Sunday just drives a sharp pain in each of my limbs,” is how Anderson, a 19-year-old pre-med student at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., described it in a blog post.

For reasons personal or cultural, certain days of the week can cast an angsty pall of dread, much like seasons or milestones can trigger anxiety or depression with cyclical predictability, experts say. Whether it’s waning daylight, holiday expectations or emotional memories of back-to-school nerves that spring to life (even in adulthood) with the first whiff of fall leaves, calendar cues can provoke visceral reactions.

Many people suffer through with a shrug of resignation. It’s better, though, to recognize the forces behind your mood patterns and make changes to reclaim the day.

“The whole point of being aware of what’s likely to affect you is so that you don’t have to be the passive recipient of life’s experiences that day,” said Dr. John Sharp, a psychiatrist and author of “The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences and Milestones to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life.”

And Sundays, of course, don’t hold a monopoly on gloom. Many people say it’s their favorite. Search for Facebook groups dedicated to the “worst day of the week,” and all but one have Monday in their cross hairs.

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