70°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Weather’s impact on our mood

I have some very exciting news! Seasonal depression is about to be over. Say goodbye to seasonal depression, and say hello rejuvenating moods. I don’t know about you guys, but for me, the weather plays a very important role in my mood, my emotions, and my energy. I tend to be happier and more productive and filled with energy when the sun is out. On the contrary, when the weather is gloomy, I tend to feel more sad, and I just want to lay in bed all day. This got me thinking, am I the only that feels this way? I realized I can’t be, because there wouldn’t be the term seasonal depression. I also wondered, why does the weather impact our mood? Is there any logical or scientific reasoning behind it? In order to get answers to both of those questions, I decided to do some research through survey and internet browsing. 

Let’s start off with the internet research that I had conducted before moving onto the more personalized research. Why do our seasons change? We all know that we have four seasons throughout the year: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. And the reason why we have these four seasons, in comparison to only having one season all year long is all thanks to planet Earth. The Earth is tipped 23.5 degrees on its axis, which leads to an overall impact on the distribution of how much sun each area of the Earth will get. And we already know the planet Earth does not sit still: It moves around itself and the sun. So basically in all of its simplicity, the closer certain hemispheres are angled towards the sun, the hotter they are, and vice versa, the further away an area of the Earth is angled from the sun the colder the area is. (1). 

Now that that’s settled, I set out a question on my Instagram page asking my followers the big question: Do you think weather can affect a person’s mood? 98 percent responded with a yes, whereas 2 percent responded no. 

I then proceeded to ask them this question: When it’s sunny, do you feel more productive, energetic, and overall happier? 85 percent answered yes, whereas 15 percent answered no. Personally for me, when the sun is out, I feel a lot happier and just overall brighter. 

Another question that I asked on my Instagram page is regarding the gloomy weather. Where I asked: When it is gloomy/raining do you feel more tired, low energy, and sadder? 55 percent answered yes, whereas 45 percent responded with a no. 

With these answers in mind, it got me thinking, what is the science behind this? Is there a scientific reasoning as to why we as humans are so impacted by weather? And if so, why do we tend to feel sadder during the cold winter days, in comparison to the sunny days that are filled with the two p’s: positivity and productivity? According to an article written by Marion Bernstein that is published on bustle.com, the absence of sunlight can lead to something known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or as we know it, seasonal depression. This typically occurs during the months of October through April, where daylight time is slowly beginning to change. According to the article, when we are exposed to a less amount of sunlight, we tend to produce more melatonin, a hormone that is known to make us tired and sleepy. This is eventually going to lead to our body wanting to sleep more, overall impacting our brain, which will then impact our appetite and our sleep. In addition to this, the article also claims that colder temperatures can make us feel physically sluggish, which in return has an impact on our mood, our daily activities, and motivation overall. (2). 

The opposite occurs when the sun is present throughout the days. According to an article published by Time Magazine, there was a study that measured the levels of brain chemicals during the weather. What they found was that on brighter and sunnier days, a higher level of serotonin was found; regardless of how cold or hot the weather is, as long as there is sun, there was some sort of joy. This can even lead to some doctors prescribing light therapy in order to help improve one’s mood. Of course this sort of therapy does take time to work, and it will not automatically cure one’s mood overnight. (3). 

The final question that I asked my friends and family on Instagram was, ‘What Is Your Favorite Season?”  Now these percentages are rounded, therefore, they seem a little off. But out of these responses 48 percent answered with their favorite season being spring, 26 percent preferred summer over any other season, 24 percent responded with autumn being their favorite season, and 12 percent responded with winter being their favorite season. 

These responses elicited another question in my mind, which is why is spring the most beloved season out of all? The only possible answer that came into my mind is that the spring season tends to represent rejuvenation. What I mean by this is that the leaves of the trees that were once gone are now regrowing, and just like those trees, our energies, hopes and motivations are also regrowing.  According to an article published on Mentalfloss.com, there are various reasons as to why spring is considered to be the most preferred season out of all of them. The first reason as to why spring is such a great season is because of the temperature change, where the weather is not too hot, or too cold: it’s just right. Another reason as to why spring is considered to be the most preferred season is because the sun slowly starts to come out again during the spring, and we have more time in the light thanks to daylight savings. Finally, there’s another reason, similar to what I said in the beginning of the paragraph about spring representing rejuvenation. This article only backs up my hypothesis, through saying that during spring time flowers are blooming once again, the trees are starting to regain their new leaves, but most importantly the animals that once migrated from the area to a more warmer area, are now migrating back, bringing the back the life the city needs (4). 

All in all, it’s pretty safe to say that for some weather has a solid impact on their mood. I don’t know about you guys, but it definitely does on mine. With that being said, I’m curious to know what your favorite seasons are, and why? Feel free to email me at my UMass Boston email: [email protected]

  1. Changing seasons | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov)

  2. 6 Scientific Ways Weather Affects Your Mood, So You Can Adapt Your Mind And Body Through The Changing Seasons (bustle.com)

  3. The Sun and Your Mood: Why Sunlight Is So Good For You | Time

  4. 15 Scientific Reasons Spring Is the Most Delightful Season | Mental Floss