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How Mood is Affected by Weather

Have you ever prepared yourself to go to the beach on a sunny day and then notice the subtle change in weather signaling that you would soon be visited by rain? You might recall a move from a feeling of elation to one of disappointment, even sadness. Why did this happen? Conversely, we see movie directors mirroring human emotions in atmospheric conditions - gloom realized through rain, while euphoria is symbolized by high intensities of sunlight. The question is why.

Although common sense and cultural sense seems to imply that our moods are affected by the weather, there is little to no supported evidence that gives credence to this hypothesis. Denisson et al (666) corroborates this by showing that there is no direct correlation between positive weather and positive affect, however, the research shows that there is a physiological link between, let’s say sunlight, and happiness. Vitamin D3 (which affects mood)levels increase with sunlight; therefore, the more sunlight we get, the better we feel. However, it is also true that too much sunlight and heat may cause tiredness, and subsequently, engender negative affect.

Whereas people generally have positive feelings towards sunlight, many link a negative mood with rain. Loewen, in an online article entitled “Effects of Weather on Human Emotions”, considers stigmas attached to rain in practical terms - it may prevent us from socializing face-to-face with others, and we may have to stay indoors, thereby provoking feelings of frustration or sadness because of our inability to freely maneuver outdoors; and there are the complications for some of getting wet and becoming ill. On the other hand, there are places in this world that may experience severe dry seasons or drought, and the rain is seen as a welcomed sign of rebirth and life.

We can continue to evaluate the effects of weather on our mood, but in looking closer we will begin to understand that our subjective reactions have been socially and culturally instilled. Depending on our climactic circumstance, atmospheric conditions may be seen as favorable or not, but it is not until we objectively review whether there is a correlation will we be able to show that we have no conclusive evidence. In the meantime, the layman understands that weather affects his mood; he just can’t distinguish if he grew up learning it or if the feeling originated inside of himself.

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