The weather isn’t something we can do much about but it can definitely affect our moods. This can bring about a number of different feelings and emotions that are unique to that particular weather. For example, the feeling of freedom you get from the warm sun, or the safety you feel from a light drizzle. This blog will look at the possible effects the weather can have on a person’s mood and how it affects that person’s personality.

How the weather affects our mood/mental health

One way we can look at weather and mental health/moods is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a kind of depression that changes with the seasons, and has been proven, with an estimated 10 to 20% of recurrent depression episodes following a seasonal pattern. SAD often begins in the fall and lasts through the winter, with remission occurring in the spring. Light therapy is the preferred treatment, which is why most people find themselves more productive or in a better mood when the sun is shining.  SAD is “not regarded a different condition” from depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health; individuals experience all of the symptoms of depression on a seasonal basis. SAD is more common in young adults and those who have a family history of depression, as stated by Dr. Bryan Bruno.

Here is something interesting for you in regards to weather and your mood: In a study published in Emotion in 2011, researchers defined weather-reactivity types by linking self-reported daily moods across 30 days with objective weather data. They found that there were four defined types of people when it comes to reactions to weather. As they wrote in the abstract: The types were labeled Summer Lovers (better mood with warmer and sunnier weather), Unaffected (weak associations between weather and mood), Summer Haters (worse mood with warmer and sunnier weather), and Rain Haters (particularly bad mood on rainy days). In addition, intergenerational concordance effects were found for two of these types, suggesting that weather reactivity may run in the family.

 How to stay happy and productive despite the weather

There are a few simple ways to cheer yourself up on those days where the weather seems to be bringing you down. Some of these include making yourself productive, such as cleaning, organizing, have a shower, etc… You can also get in some exercise to help you feel more pro-active, or seek company from others to help put a smile on your face! Taking Vitamin D supplements may also help. Vitamin D is produced by UVB radiation (direct sunlight) and can be difficult to obtain on cold, gloomy days, especially when we are cooped up indoors all day. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression, and although this has not been established clinically, many people have stated that taking vitamin D does have a positive effect. 

Being aware of how the weather affects your mood can help make you less vulnerable to its possible effects and allows you to make adjustments. The next time you find yourself feeling less than your best, take a moment to see what the weather might be doing.

This information does not substitute as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your brain health or mental health please consult a medical professional.

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