Weather has an impact on mood


Katrina Schiller

The Mississippi River as the weather transitions from winter to summer.

The transition from cold to warm weather and vice versa oftentimes has people wondering how their lives may be affected by these such weather shifts. Everyone has their personal preference, but when it comes to mood, weather can seriously have an impact.

It is common for rainy days to be associated with a gloomy mood, and days like these have a bad reputation as being a cause of general unhappiness. Studies show that people who are affected by cloudy days and the wintertime are mainly impacted by the lack of light.

Even though an analysis published in 2008 by Emotion indicated that a correlation exists between warm weather and a cheery mood, some studies prove that warmer isn’t always better. A 2013 study published by Science reported that aggression increased with the temperature. For example, intergroup conflicts increase by a significant 14% as the temperature rises.

The rate of violent crimes also rises as the temperature increases. A study conducted at the University of California Berkeley found a link between violence and heat and violence and rainfall. In Chicago, more murders are committed when the weather transitions to warmer. HuffPost Chicago reported that less than half the amount of shootings occur in the winter as compared to in the summer.

It has also been determined that suicide rates rise during the spring and summer months; however, people in warmer climates have a lower risk of death. Researchers at Stanford University support this claim.

In some cases, major depressive episodes are found to be linked to a specific seasonal pattern. This is a depressive disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, abbreviated as SAD. It is more common for someone with this disorder to experience its effects during the winter season, but it does affect some sufferers during the other seasons as well. Symptoms of SAD include oversleeping, appetite changes, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide.

The symptoms associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder are identical to those of depression; however, someone suffering from SAD will experience their symptoms concurrently with a certain season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder may be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or phototherapy.

It has also been determined that extreme weather condition influence the way people feel. The Weather Channel reports that people who live in high-risk areas for disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are at higher risk for both mental and physical stress. The National Wildlife Federation determined that approximately 200 million Americans may experience increased instances of psychological disparities including anxiety, substance abuse, and stress due to climate-related factors.

Sartell students experience the effects that weather has on mood too. In a survey of 15 students, 12 stated that they feel happier during the warm seasons. One student stated that he feels happier during the cold seasons. Two students stated that their mood is unaffected by the seasons. Another Sartell student stated, “It’s very hard for me to stay motivated and positive when the nights are so much longer than the days, and I can’t go outside at all.”

Another student stated, “Rainy weather makes me sleepy, and nice weather makes me want to lay outside and enjoy it.”