Does Weather Affect Mood?

Have you ever decided to hibernate and have a Netflix marathon after spying snowflakes out the window? Do you feel more energetic as the days get longer? It’s true that mood can be affected by weather, but not always in expected ways, and sometimes not at all. Dr. John Grohol has studied the link between weather and mood extensively and here is a summary of what he has found:

  • Warmer temperatures can have a positive influence on a negative mood, but bad weather is much more likely to put us in a bad mood than good weather is to put us in a good mood. Moreover, what constitutes good or bad weather is different for each of us because your seasonal preference can come into play. For example, if you love to ski, the first snowfall will boost your mood while hotter weather won’t.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real depressive disorder in which a person’s mood and level of depression are determined by the season. This specific form of depression is often associated with winter, excessive eating or sleeping, and weight gain. Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from the winter blues than men are. However, SAD is not strictly a winter illness. A minority of people also experience SAD during the spring and summer months too.
  • Around the world suicide peaks during the spring and summer, not winter. While the reasons for this are varied, it is important to reach out for help if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide.
  • Heat brings out the worst in people because they tend to be more irritable and aggressive. Why the change? Seasonal allergies for one. It’s hard to feel upbeat, sociable, and/or patient when while feeling physically rotten.
  • Weather doesn’t necessarily have to impact a person’s mood, and many people don’t experience weather-related mood changes. If you are someone who does, being adaptable can help minimize weather related impacts on mood. If the weather means changing plans, then change them rather than give up on them. Interestingly, men are more likely than women to change their plans when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Raining? Reschedule a planned hike and focus on indoor projects. Unexpectedly warm day? Take advantage of it by going to the water park or beach.

So yes, your mood may be affected by the weather. While you can’t control the weather, but you can learn to adapt with the changing forecast, and seek help when needed. For more information, check out Dr. Grohol’s findings.