Does Weather Really Affect Our Moods?
Professionals are continually asking how exactly does the weather impact our moods. For example, in what way does hot weather affect mood? Does hot weather make more aggressive and more violent? Can the rain or snow actually make people sad? What does the cold do to us, does it make us want to hibernate or isolate ourselves from other people?
Taking a broad look at some research it seems that there are different ways that the weather can impact mood. However, for some, it really wasn’t surprising to discover that there are truly different ways that it can impact the mood of some people. However, many researchers have discovered that the weather may not have as huge of an impact on mood as some have believed it did. There has been quite a bit of research on this area and there have been various and sometimes somewhat conflicting results. Here are a few results that research has come up with regarding weather and how it can impact some peoples moods.
Higher Tems Can Be Uplifting for Some Depressed People
Some research has discovered that weather can have a daily influence on one’s negative mood instead of helping someone’s positive mood. For instance, warmer temperatures can raise someone’s low mood by making them feel better and situations like wind or not much sun can make a depressed person feel even worse. This however, doesn’t seem to accept those who aren’t already depressed.
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is Real
SAD is a real type of depression, otherwise known as depressive disorder with seasonal pattern where a person has a major depressive issue can be directly connected to a certain type of season. Most often people will think of SAD happening to people only during the fall or winter, there are also a small amount of people who have experienced SAD during the spring and summer.
Heat and Lots of Rain Can Bring Out Worst in People
Researchers have found a direct link between aggression and hotter temperatures. It seems as the temperature rises conflicts between people tend to jump as well. With hotter weather those who were studied showed a 14% rise in conflict and a 4% rise in violence.
It was also found that when weather brought a lot of rain, especially in areas where large amounts of rainfall was not expected, people became more aggressive. Even though it seems that these changes in weather affect mood, it still is not totally clear if it really is the weather that causes these mood changes.
Some researchers however, would argue that weather does affect people and quite often women. Some women have reported that during hotter weather or a lot of rainfall felt like life wasn’t satisfying as compared to days when it was cooler and there was no rain when they felt more satisfied with life.
Suicides Tend to Peak During Spring and Summer
For most people spring and summer offer a feeling of hope, but for those who tend to be depressed it often makes them feel hopeless. Researchers believe that a lot of outdoor workers tended to be influenced by the weather warming up during spring and summer and there seemed to be a higher percentage of suicide by these people than during the winter months.
After a comprehensive study in 2012,suicide was found to increase when the weather changed in spring and the early part of summer and seemed to decrease during fall and winter and it seemed to remain a constant that affects behavior in both Southern and Northern hemispheres.
Impact of Weather May Depend on Weather Personality Types
A study of over 400 young people discovered that half were not affected by the changes in the weather, but the other half did seem to be influenced by it. After analyzing the information gathered they determined that there were different weather personality types:
- Summer Lovers (17%) – These people seemed to be happier, were less fearful, and were less likely to get angry on the days with hotter weather and more sunshine.
- Summer Haters (27%) – These people were far less happy and a lot more fearful. They also felt more angry when the weather was hotter and there was more sunshine.
- Rain Haters (9%) – They tended to be less happy and much angrier on the days with a lot of rain compared to being much happier and less angry on days with warmer weather and more sun.
- Unaffected by the Weather (48%) – This group basically was not impacted by any changes in the weather.
It’s important to note that this research about weather personalities was only done on Dutch youth, so we really don’t know if these results can compare with any adults or others living in other countries.
Weather Really Doesn’t Have to Have an Impact on Mood
Studies have shown that if one is more flexible they respond better to any unexpected changes in weather by just being willing to change their plans. If it’s raining then stay inside and do something relaxing or fun. Unexpected hot weather, take advantage of it by going to the beach, water park, river, etc. By being willing to accept the changes in weather makes it easier to stay in a higher mood.
Even though weather may seem to have some measurable and real impact on some people’s moods, but it does depend on a lot of different factors as well. It does seem that the impact of weather will probably be greater in a geographic area that experiences long periods of some kind of unusual weather. For example, if it’s sunny and hot for months and months there’s probably going to be some sort of impact on the mood of people.