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Cloudwatcher

The Psychological Effects Of Weather

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I have an amateur interest in psychology and was curious to know what type of effects weather has on peoples mood and general well-being. The effects of a lack of sunlight on serotonin and other neuro-transmitters in the brain is of course medically proven, and cases of seasonal affective disorder well documented.

My own take is that the current weather is making me feel exceptionally tired, and physically and mentally drained and dispirited. I am finding it hard to get up in the mornings and get motivated. We have had a pretty much continuous spell here of dull, overcast, cool conditions with drizzly rain at best for the past four or five months and I wonder if this plays a big part in how I am currently feeling. In addition, as a six year member of the NSC, I miss the adrenaline rush and excitement of a good storm!

I am interested to know other takes on this. In addition, I wonder about the levels of Vitamin D in people at the moment, especially children, and what effect this current weather might have on them. It was getting dark at 8pm here yesterday and by 9.15pm the streetlamps were on and cars had headlamps on! In high summer!

Would welcome knowing how the weather makes people feel. It's a big big influence on our lives.

Discuss....:-)

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My own take is that the current weather is making me feel exceptionally tired, and physically and mentally drained and dispirited. I am finding it hard to get up in the mornings and get motivated.

That's exactly how I feel (X10) during,and particularly in the run-up to 'traditional' summer fare. I've clearly got some kind of hormonal/psychological imbalance but there y'go. Feel energised and invigorated as darkness and Autumn approach. Guess it won't be so pronounced this year as it's more like Autumn already. God forbid an Indian Summer....

Ya don't need sunlight for vitamin D - just get plenty of margarine and mackerel down the neck. Works for me!

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sorry laserguy ,but most people i know could,nt disagree more,this long period of cloud (and not much else) is really getting my friends and colleagues down,we need our sun and we need it now .cray.gif

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Well I can certainly attest to weather and time of year having a large impact on mood & happiness levels.

I could probably draw a graph of overall well being vs time of year which would peak somewhere around May to July and hit rock bottom from the end of October to December, then a short jump for xmas before falling back. It then climbs steadily to May again.

I would suspect the low points for most people (I know there are exceptions who prefer dark, wet & winter but I would argue they are the exceptions overall) are caused by a few factors. These apply both to winter vs summer generally as well as poor vs good summer weather:

- Lack of daylight (or sunlight in poor summers)

Getting up before sunrise is not natural. Coming home after sunset is very unpleasant. Only seeing your home in daylight two days a week is horrible. Some people don't see *any* day light Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning. This is not healthy. Lack of sunlight in poor summers brings you down and the rain makes you feel trapped inside.

- Lack of exercise and poor diet.

Lets face it - most of us do less in winter/poor weather and eat more. An after work run is not possible or desirable in the dark, the car beckons on a cold, damp & dark morning and Sunday afternoon cycle rides are replaced by films & computer games. Look at winter food - stodge & over rich stuff. Even ales in pubs tend to favour dark, rich ones over the lighter pale ales of summer.

A diet high in fat/sugar coupled with no exercise will make you feel tired, lacking in energy and have a poor mood. A healthy diet with fresh veg coupled with plenty of exercise will make you feel good.

You also need more sleep in winter but most of us don't have time to get it. In summer I have surplus of sleep time so end up getting up earlier. In winter the opposite is true. Dry centrally heated recycled air is not as good for you as fresh outdoor air coming from an open window. This can increase headaches and tiredness/moodiness.

- Lack of social interaction.

In winter or in poor summer weather you see less people. A sunny day in summer and everyone is out & about - you see your neighbours (love 'em or hate 'em) and people spending time relaxing outdoors in public spaces. A wet/cold winters day everyone is inside, curtains drawn hidden away. Human interaction improves happiness and mood; isolation does the opposite.

- Increased hardship of day to day life.

Despite mod cons this still applies. dealing with frozen windscreens, avoiding falling on ice or autumn debris, frustration & safety concerns with increased traffic volumes and more dangerous road conditions, fear of crime in less safe areas that are now in darkness for most of the day, increased maintenance requirements for outdoor equipment likes bicycles, cars, garage doors/gates etc., the loss of the garden as a space in your house, lack of sights and smells from nature... all these and more add up to take their toll on your happiness & well being levels.

Somehow that turned into an essay! Slow morning at work haha. Still sums up many of the things that drive me down in winter or in poor weather which I'm sure many others can relate to. Perhaps someone can write a counter essay bigging up the merits of cold/wet/dark in a similar way because I'd be interested to read it.

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I sympathise with Laser Guy. I hate the rain in general, but the heat and sun are not something I particularly crave.

To be honest, I enjoy a bit of sun and warmth after winter, but then quickly get bored and want winter back again! Is there anything better than the anticipation that a snowfest at +48 on the models brings in the middle of December :)

Additionally, for me the best days are mid-winter days. The sun is out, but it is still cold with frost on the ground. There is no better weather to go walking in, all wrapped up and looking forward to a nice hot meal when you get back home :)

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Really doesn't bother me in the slightest. Loving the lack of heat although the endless rain is driving me up the wall.

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The weather never affects me psychologically, I make sure it doesn't. Even if it's hot and humid, I still manage to get outside in the garden and mow the lawn if it needs to be done. I sweat like a pig but that's it. I dislike the heat in general but I can tolerate it very easily without complaining even once. It would take something truly exceptional to get me feeling depressed or unhappy, weather-related of course. The searing desert heat of Kuwait or Baghdad would probably do the trick, temps in the high 40's with high humidity and dew points = potentially lethal.

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The very humid nights are getting very tiring indeed, really can't wait for something fresher, darker evenings i find are nice and cosy, sitting in watching a good movie, playing a video game, reading a novel are much more enjoyable in autumn/winter, also the footie season is in full flow, July seems to be a nothing month with not much happening.

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The very humid nights are getting very tiring indeed, really can't wait for something fresher, darker evenings i find are nice and cosy, sitting in watching a good movie, playing a video game, reading a novel are much more enjoyable in autumn/winter, also the footie season is in full flow, July seems to be a nothing month with not much happening.

Yep, I agree with this.

At least we have the Olympics this year!

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As a lover of sunshine and warmth I'm beginning to feel the will to live slowly draining from my soul. Obviously, one doesn't have wildly high expectations of a British summer but this one really does suck the big one. It'll be with enormous relief that I leave for Kefalonia shortly for a few weeks of much needed respite from this interminably crap weather.

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sorry laserguy ,but most people i know could,nt disagree more,this long period of cloud (and not much else) is really getting my friends and colleagues down,we need our sun and we need it now .cray.gif

No need to apologise; I can't help it! I do feel sorry for folk with normal summer aspirations but as we are utterly powerless to control weather, I'm counting my lucky stars right now. Hopefully I won't feel like y'all do now,courtesy of a mild winter ( tho' that I find infinitely more tolerable than a hot summer).

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I'm so glad we cannot control the weather. Can you imagine the wars it'd start?!

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I'm so glad we cannot control the weather. Can you imagine the wars it'd start?!

Yeah, our enemies would send a 10 month blizzard - that'd paralise us for good.

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Definitely agree there is something in this - as a warm weather fan I have felt an almost physical depression over the last week in particular. Both children's sports days cancelled, wife working on cultural olympiad outdoor events almost driven mad with frustration, school run carried out in constant drizzle. Even when it's not raining it's almost raining. Respectfully to those who don't like hot and sunny, surely you wouldn't begrudge us just the odd day? And to those hoping for big storms, not sure the people whose houses have been flooded recently would agree with your wish.

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The searing desert heat of Kuwait or Baghdad would probably do the trick, temps in the high 40's with high humidity and dew points = potentially lethal.

Humidity in summer is generally low in both locations, especially Baghdad. Not that the ridiculously high temperatures don't more than make up for it.

Dubai on the other hand...

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I've certainly felt more tired recently- I had far more energy and zest for life during that May warm spell. I just feel like I'm never fully awake with the weather as it is at the moment. Also have noticed increased grumpiness recently when out and about.

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Humidity in summer is generally low in both locations, especially Baghdad. Not that the ridiculously high temperatures don't more than make up for it.

Dubai on the other hand...

Yeah, Dubai is very humid.. but Kuwait is quite close to the Gulf too so can imagine it getting rather humid?

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Sunshine and warmth makes alot of people happy... We all know all it takes is sunshine and a gentle breeze this time of year and the temperture would shoot up. Seeing the rain and gales in summer is so disappointing..

Its been a repetative thing for numerous summers in a row..

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Yeah, Dubai is very humid.. but Kuwait is quite close to the Gulf too so can imagine it getting rather humid?

According to http://www.kuwait.climatemps.com/, relative humidity in Kuwait City averages between 40% and 50% during the summer months. High humidity can occur there, but it's unusual.

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I do sympathise a lot with Laserguy's condition as "reverse SAD" and related issues must come across as somewhat perverse to many people and probably gets ridiculed a lot in the outside world- yet it is a genuine problem, which is traditionally more common in countries that get a lot of sunshine but exists also in cloudy countries like the UK.

I cannot deny that I do get affected psychologically by the weather. A sustained lack of sunshine makes me more prone to feeling depressed and tired and makes it harder to bring myself to get up in the morning, while an abundance of sunshine has the opposite effects on me. I also get excited when certain notable weather events arrive, particularly convective events and snow events, and frustrated when I narrowly miss out on them. Spells devoid of notable weather (e.g. often cloudy with the odd bit of sun and the odd bit of rain) tend to result in me getting bored with the weather, though rather than making me depressed it just tends to depress my level of interest in what the weather is doing.

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Naturally sunlight has a major psychological impact on peoples' mood. Many people comment on how exposure to sunshine makes you feel much more alert and generally happier - those who don't I suspect are the exception. Exposure to a bit of sunshine in winter does wonders - those crisp blue sky cold days are always a welcome tonic..

The amount of daylight also has again naturally an impact on people's day to day lives - this is well documented. Socially people are much more active in the summer months, spending more time outside compared to the winter when it is dark after many leave for work and before they return - very depressing. Being serious and I understand rates of suicide are far higher in the winter in more northerly lattitudes and alcoholism is a major problem in countries such as Finland and Russia.

In terms of impact on my mood, I noticed how those sunny light mornings in late May had me frequently waking up much earlier than normal and more generally I tend to wake up much earlier in summer than winter even when tired - daylight must be a major factor...

I can take wet days all year round, but what I really don't like are those days shrouded in low cloud and mist - we get many in both winter and summer.. I'd rather be pouring down than just having a cloudy misty murky dull day - such days often make me feel very lacklustre..

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