Warm Weather = Happy Amie

Last weekend I returned from the tropics to find myself outside the San Francisco airport basically barefoot in sub-40 degree weather. As I stood there shivering in disbelief, the shock to my system made me wonder about the effect of the  weather on my mood and well-being. Like Kate, I often find myself a little more blue as winter progresses and the sun sets early in the day. But in what other ways might the weather be affecting how we feel from one day to the next? Some of what I found surprised me. Below I detail three unexpected (at least to me!) ways in which the weather may be influencing your mood…

Summer can sour your mood. Just because there is a lot of sunshine in the summer doesn’t mean it is the time when people are the happiest. In one study, rates of depression and sadness among the general population of the Netherlands were highest in the summer and fall. In a separate line of research, although participants’ moods tended to become more positive as the weather became more pleasant in the springtime, in the summer, hotter weather was associated with being in a more negative mood. Heat is also associated with increased aggression. So when you find yourself feeling sad, grouchy, or wanting to punch someone in the middle of summer, try taking a weekend trip to somewhere cool.