It seem like no matter how hard I try, some days I just can’t get over that morning slump. I could drink all the coffee in the world but I still struggle to reach that good state of mind that I know I’m capable of. On a day just like that, I’ll look out the window and notice that it’s raining. Maybe it’s the weathers fault or maybe I got off on the wrong side of the bed again.
Can there be a correlation between your mood and the weather?
Luckily, It turns out that people with experience in the realm of human psychology have analysed this possibility at length. A study that was published in the journal EMOTION (Denissen et al., 2008) looks at the effect of weather on a persons state of mind. The study covers multiple weather variables such as temperature, wind power, sunlight, precipitation, air pressure, and photoperiod (the exposure to light).
During the length of the study, participants were asked to fill out a daily questionnaire regarding their mood (positive or negative) and tiredness levels. It seemed logical to me that your state of mind follows the eb and flow of the weather but the study’s results say otherwise. Once the data of the 1,233 partakers were compiled, the researchers found out that the effect of weather on mood was small if not insignificant. In other words, more rain clouds and wind does not greatly impact your mood.
However, the study did find a link between less sunlight and greater tiredness. The effect was found to be tiny but you could feel worse depending on how “nice” it is outside.
So according to this study, we are barely affected by the changed of weather in our area. But how can this be? We’ve all woken up on a gloomy morning and felt that unshakable groggy feeling follow us throughout the day. Denissen et al. (2008) suggest that this belief is passed on by the people that surround you. This culturally transmitted assumption could be influence your mood because people around you believe that it does.
One factor that the study does not measure is the time spent outside for every participant. If sunlight can have a small effect on our tiredness, shouldn’t we take advantage of it as much a possible? Furthermore, why should we let the weather, such an uncontrollable phenomenon, dictate our overall happiness?
If you ask me, we should take a look at the factors in our lives that we can control and use them to enhance our state of minds. From sitting at the park and practicing mindfulness meditation to taking an old friend out to dinner, we can influence our state of mind with the decisions that we take every day. Hopefully we can all reach a point in our lives where, come rain or shine, we can look outside that bedroom window with a big smile on our faces.