Weather and mood: is there a connection?
We believe that we are experiencing emotional uplift because the sun is shining in the morning, and, on the contrary, we are discouraged if the rain pours without ceasing. We are sure: the weather directly affects our mood. Attempts to experimentally verify this conventional wisdom have been made repeatedly.
Researchers asked volunteers several times a day to record their emotional state for several months, and then compared the data with weather reports for the same days. And … did not find any addiction!
David Watson, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa (USA), analyzed the results of the twenty largest weather-related studies of mood dependence since the early 1980s. It turned out: the more people participated in the experiments, the less correlation appeared. In other words, the studies of psychologists refute our intuitive conclusions: the weather and our mood are in no way connected. What makes us believe otherwise?
Belief in the linear relationship between weather and state of mind came from the distant past. An archaic view of the universe likened the inner world of man to the world of nature, and in this scheme weather phenomena were given the same place that is usually given to emotions.
Thus describing the sphere of feelings, today we use the same words as when describing the weather: for example, the verbs “frown” and “clear up” are equally applicable to the sky and to the person’s face.
Since ancient times, the life of people has been regulated by the weather. “The sun played a special role,” says anthropologist Alexander Zubov. “It determined the rhythm of life, warmed it, made it possible to engage in gathering and hunting … It was a source of life’s blessings, and therefore all the great civilizations of antiquity – from the Aryans to the Aztecs – worshiped him.”
Elevated mood can be, for example, because in good weather we often leave the house
Today, our feelings are still influenced by traditional views and cultural stereotypes – stable and extremely simplified ideas about what is happening. If the sun is shining joyfully to us and outside the window, we will most likely try to attribute to him his wonderful mood. But, if it rains outside, we simply will not pay attention to the weather.
“When the situation does not correspond to our ideas, we ignore it. This is how the mechanism for the formation of stereotypes — prejudices, superstitions, social attitudes — operates, ”explains psychologist Margarita Zhamkochyan. – And vice versa, meeting coincidences, we remember them, tell others about it.
But in fact, we may have high spirits, for example, because in good weather we often leave the house to meet relatives and friends. This social interaction always has a positive effect on us. ”
Adjust for contrasts
About 60 thousand years ago, several groups of ancient people migrated from East Africa, as a result, they and their descendants populated the entire globe. “Our ancestors were forced to adapt to new living conditions,” explains anthropologist Olga Artemova. “Their body learned to pick up any weather signals that could affect their lives.” For example, low atmospheric pressure preceded a hurricane.
In the genetic memory of subsequent generations, a sharp drop in pressure, causing a vague sense of anxiety, was imprinted as a “foreboding of a thunderstorm. That is how our sensitivity to weather changes has developed.
Mood is an emotional state that colors our life, and it does not depend on specific circumstances. When we are in high spirits, we do not rejoice at something separately, but simply feel joy.
The mood can change several times even during the course of one day, but its differences or constant emotional background are seasonal and are primarily determined by an individual biological rhythm.
Why then does the mood change?
Most often, incomprehensible mood swings occur in autumn and winter days. But apathy, a feeling of depression is not connected with the weather, but caused … by a lack of light. The work of the body, including the nervous system, is determined by the stability of the day-night cycle. The better the illumination, the more serotonin is produced – the hormone that regulates our mood.
When it is lacking, libido and ability to concentrate are reduced. “Scientists were able to identify a special type of nerve cells that record the amount of light perceived by the eyes, and in accordance with this regulate the work of the internal biological clock,” says Margarita Zhamkochyan. “The morning light“ starts ”this watch.”
A natural biological alarm is triggered if the receptors receive the required amount of light. In autumn and winter days this becomes almost impossible.
What is weather sensitivity
Why do some of us react to the change of weather with a headache, causeless anxiety, exacerbation of chronic diseases? Physicist Tatyana Breus explains the phenomenon of meteosensitivity as follows: “Our body is a complex coordinated system of various rhythms – cardiac, vascular, respiratory. A sharp change in air temperature, atmospheric pressure or wind strength, increased solar activity can bring the body out of a state of stable equilibrium. And we feel emotional and physical discomfort. “
Such an acute reaction to the weather is characteristic of only 3% of the adult population. After all, weather sensitivity is a natural physiological phenomenon, thanks to which the body can adequately respond to changes in the external environment, which allows us to live in harmony with the world.
In some, the adaptation process is almost imperceptible, while others require more time for this. A painful reaction to the weather is an individual feature of those who inherited a special sensitivity of the central nervous system to the activity of the sun, or those whose body is greatly weakened.
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