I love the sunshine. There is something about basking in the warmth of summer – wearing sunscreen of course – that makes me feel deeply happy. Or does it?
After reading a new study from the University of Westminster, I’m beginning to question whether the idea that the weather affects my mood is all in my head.
I would argue that most people believe, to one degree or another, that the weather affects their mood. When we’re feeling low, the rain is an easy target. It’s easy to point to the drizzle as the cause of our lower energy and dark thoughts. Conversely, when we feel light and happy, it’s easy to point to the summer sun as the cause of our feelings.
Well, according to a new study from the University of Westminster, the weather may not affect our mood as much as we think. The study followed 5,500 British households over a 17 year period.
Scientists found that there was not a strong correlation between weather and people’s moods.
In fact, they found that sunny days were likely to make people less happy on days that they went to work. I guess no-one likes being stuck in the office when they could be at the beach!
As far as I can see, the study did not address the topic of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a kind of depression related to changes in the seasons.
The first thing I thought about when I read this study was the fact that millions of baby boomers are planning on retiring to sunny countries in the coming decades. Are we making this decision based, in part, on faulty assumptions? Do we think that a life in the sun will make us happier?
At the end of the day, it probably comes down to the kind of lifestyle that you want. The weather may not make you happy directly, but, if you love the culture, cuisine and quality of life that a tropical lifestyle offers, the sun may boost your mood in other ways.
I’d love to hear what you think about this.
Do you think that you feel happier on sunny days? Do you believe in the rainy day blues? Why or why not? Do you plan on retiring somewhere sunny? Please join the conversation.