Weather and mood: sunny and grey impacts

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Since the olden days there is a belief that the weather carries an impact on people. Modern science also believes that the weather inevitably impacts on our mood – raising it or pushing it down.

Charles Darwin once said “it is not the strongest that survives; it is the one that is most adaptable to change”. Weather is not constant as it is a reflection of Mother Nature’s caprices. Changing weather patterns have challenged people since the beginning of times – it has caused alterations in people’s moods and behaviors. Its influence on the mood is a real fact, proven by a number of surveys conducted in different parts of the world.

Weather and mood: friends or enemies?

Most people today are interested in how the weather acts upon our mood? What rises and falls it may cause in our daily mood?

The majority of people believe that they feel happier on bright sunny days as compared to dark and rainy days. A number of studies on the issue, including the American Psychological Association’s research, dating back to 2008, found that weather’s daily influence has more of an impact on a person’s negative mood, rather than tuning one up to a positive mood. The survey claims that higher temperatures kick people’s mood higher, while things like wind, rain or less sunshine push a person’s feelings down.

A well-known psychologist in Azerbaijan, Ibrahim Ibrahimov told Azernews that a sunny or cloudy and rainy weather’s role in changing a person’s mood depends on a person’s nature. There is not a common concept that sunny days are far better than grey ones.

“Some people have a romantic character and they love watching rain falls, and even take their pen and compose a couple of poems. But others dislike rainy weather irritated by the mud and humidity. Lovers of sunny days are fond of the sea, the beach, travelling and sun-filled times best suit their desire. However, there are people who prefer cloudy skies over the bright golden sun. In a nutshell a person’s “taste of weather” depends on a person’s character,” he said.

Anything that alters our moods can affect our behavior. Happy people are more favorably disposed to one another, and accordingly people are more helpful when the sun is out.

But the happiness people enjoy due to the sun can be distorted by a seasonal affective disorder, which is a very real kind of depressive disorder explaining a person’s major depressive episode due to specific season. While the most common opinion supports that SAD affects only people in the fall or winter months, a minority of people also experience SAD during the spring and summer months.

Ibrahimov believes that none of the seasons is worse or better, one can enjoy every seasonal weather if he/she wants it really. “If the weather does not affect your mood, you are happier than others. Ignoring the daily weather’s impact on the mood is key to a comfortable and calm life,” he added. “Each weather is beautiful. One just needs to enjoy its peculiarity and not be afraid of it.”

Science has proven that exposure to bright lights can be a good treatment for people affected with the winter depressions of SAD while it also enhances the mood of unaffected people. Exposing one’ skin to sunlight also produces vitamin D, thus promoting the brain’s production of serotonin, which lifts mood.

Temperature and mood

Aside from sun and cloud, temperatures can also affect our mind and behavior, independently of the shining or clouding of the sun. The more it departs from an ideal 20°Celsius the more discomfort we feel. The American Psychological Association’s study found that rates of mutual helping among people declined as temperatures dropped below or rose above this value.

The higher the temperature is, the more people are likely to act aggressively. Rates of aggression are higher in hotter years, months, days and times of day, paving the way to murders, riots and car-horn honking.

Ibrahimov said that hot days make wider ground for criminal activities. “When the weather is hot people’s swagger rises. They want to show up themselves through several ways, including some of brutal manners. A slight debate can cause a great brawl since the inclination of a man to reckless behavior is higher in days of high temperature,” he noted.

Good mood remedies bad weather

If you’re in a good mood, bad weather has lesser chances to bring you down. But if you’re feeling crummy already, a cold, dreary day could easily make your mood go from bad to worse.

In a 2008 study published in the journal Emotion published by the American Psychological Association, researchers evaluated the personalities and moods of more than 1,200 adult men and women. They found that climate-related factors like temperature, sunlight, wind and precipitation had no notable impact on positive mood, but that temperature, wind and sunlight did have an effect on negative mood.

It is an apparent fact that if you feel good inside, in other words if your inner world “blossoms”, no any weather can wipe away the smile on your face. As much as one’s mood can be on top, as much as the weather loses its chances to spoil it. Children can be perfect examples in this regard – winter cold doesn’t dash their desire to play snowball and the summer heat emerges weak against their strong desire of playing outside.

To put it simply, weather seems to have a real and measurable impact on many people’s mood, but is dependent upon many factors. Anyway, making one’s mood fit the weather is not a way to make one’s life better. Don’t forget that a good mood denies any weather. Enjoy every weather with your mood on top, because life is really beautiful!