At Octopus PR, we often see stories in the media about results of research or surveys into current lifestyle trends and wonder just how much of them is fact and how much is just plain PR fiction.

Take, for example, the story that appears at this time every single year about a study which claims that the third Monday in January, now known as Blue Monday, is most depressing day of the year.

According to the Cardiff University researcher and lecturer behind the study, which looks at factors such as the bad weather and post-Christmas blues, the third Monday in January is officially the lowest point of the year for the average Brit.

And now psychologist Cliff Arnall, who devised a scientific formula to calculate when people are at their lowest ebb, has once again come under the spotlight by claiming that this year the day was possibly the worst ever.

But many of us who work in public relations believe that Mr Arnall’s theory is little more than a cunning PR machination designed to encourage more of us to book a holiday in the sun to escape the winter blues.

And you cannot blame us for thinking this, given that Arnall originally published his study in a press release for the now defunct satellite TV channel Sky Travel six years ago.

But if you’re still not convinced then take a guess at who is behind another annual news story, which claims that 23 June is the happiest day in the British calendar.

And if you’re looking for even more clues then you needn’t look any further than the fact that Arnall’s happiness formula first surfaced in a press release on behalf of leading ice cream maker Wall’s, which relies so heavily on sales at that time of year.