Southern California is experiencing something quite unusual this winter season. We are seeing lots of stormy clouds, cooler temperatures, and a lot of rain. Over the past several weeks I have been intrigued by how and why people respond to the change in weather. Some feel revitalized and energized by the dark clouds while others notice a decrease in energy and motivation.
Research shows that in general, the more extreme the weather (both hot and cold) the more people display aggressive behavior. Warm and sunny weather is linked to lower rates of depression while cold and rainy weather is linked to higher rates of depression.
Personality Type Matters
Research has helped highlight trends in weather and mood but it is important to take into account individual differences. The way your mind and body react to the weather is dependent on your personality type. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is most common during the winter but it also can take effect in the spring and summer. The time of onset depends on how an individual reacts to temperature and sunlight. Introversion and extroversion may also play a significant role in how certain hormones manufactured in the brain are affected by the weather.
If you are curious about seasonal affective disorder or how the weather may be affecting your mood, take a minute to check in with your body. Notice if you are feeling drained or energized, hopeful or discouraged. If you notice you are feeling less energetic and more depressed than usual, the weather may be impacting your hormonal regulation in the brain. Contact your local physician if you have questions or concerns about SAD or to determine if treatment is needed.