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Weather and our mood

Weather and our mood

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The world often seems like a much happier place when the sun is shining. If your heart sinks when you open the curtains in the morning to discover grey, wet, windy and downright horrible conditions outside then it may feel like the weather is affecting your emotions.


However, research conducted by Dr Franz Buscha, Principal Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, earlier this year suggests that weather does not affect the happiness of British people.Dr Buscha’s study covers a 17-year period and used data from the Met Office and the British Household Panel Survey. His report concluded that day-to-day weather does not affect our mood. Dr Buscha told MailOnline: “I always hear people talk about the weather and that they are happy that the day is sunny instead of cloudy. I myself am one of such people! I decided to take a look and my initial assumption was that there would be an effect and quite a strong one. Good weather equals better mood. However, this didn’t turn out to be true.” Still, he did note that having to work on a sunny day can make people more miserable.

So if research suggests emotions aren’t directly affected by the weather why do so many people believe otherwise?

We’re all different

One reason might be the simple fact that everyone is different. Not everyone loves hot temperatures and some people are more comfortable on a cold crisp day. They may be few and far between but some even prefer the rain to sunshine. This means that while the sun may make one person feel better about the world, it has the opposite effect on someone else. Personality traits can define whether or not your emotions are affected by what’s going on outside your window.


Weather and our moodOne factor that does affect our moods is the amount and quality of sleep we get each night. This is something that the weather can influence. During particularly cold snaps or during hot humid weather, many people find it difficult to sleep. This is also true if you’re kept awake by heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms. Lack of sleep can make people irritable and put them in a low mood for the rest of the day. This bad mood may not be directly because it’s raining outside, but it has been brought on as a result of the weather.

Seasonal affective disorder

Many people up and down the country are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that has a seasonal pattern, usually becoming worse during the winter months, which leads some people to believe that the weather does indeed affect moods and emotions. The causes of SAD are not fully known but it is thought that the shorter days and less exposure to sunlight during the winter is the main contributing factor. In this sense, SAD is more likely to be brought on by long dark nights rather than whether it is raining, snowing or sunny.

Daily changes

This ties in with Dr Buscha’s research, which focussed on daily weather patterns. The seasons can and do have an effect on many people’s happiness levels but on a day-to-day basis, the weather doesn’t have much of an impact. “If you think about it logically, the findings do make sense,” Dr Buscha told The Guardian. “We all experience rain, sunshine, cloud and wind a lot in our lives. So it makes sense that people adjust to this over the long run. Daily changes don’t affect them, but seasonal changes do.”








About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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