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The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather effect your mood?

I’m in agreement with Anthony J D’Angelo: “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

People love to blame or make excuses, and the weather is easy to use as a scapegoat. I’m feeling blue because it’s raining, the snow gives me cabin fever, it’s too hot to do anything outside, I hate it when it’s this cold!

In fact, I read some articles online before writing this, and there is little statistical data to show consistent correlations between behavior/moods and weather. The only exception to this are people (more women than men) who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Some people do seem to have stronger reactions to some kinds of weather, but not enough to generalize.

Kids have the advantage over older people, even parents. They’ll happily play in the rain, splash in puddles, put on snow gear and stay outside for two hours, run through the sprinkler, made mud pies. We adults just lack their imagination and desire to be carefree.

Attitude is everything in everything. So what if schedules get messed up because you can’t leave the house for two snow days. It’s a chance to be creative and think of something new to do, or do something with the kids that you usually don’t have time for, like baking cookies. No one dislikes cold more than I do, but I think I’m a bit wimpy about it, too. My uncle who lives in Minnesota still loves winter (lucky for him) because it’s a time to bring out the cross-country skis, speed around on his snowmobile, or even do some ice fishing. (He’s getting a bit old for some of those things now, but it hasn’t changed his attitude.) Here, around the nation’s capital, people are such workaholics that the idea of not going to work makes them crazier than the weather. Four inches of snow can throw the city into chaos and shut down schools, where in other places accustomed to snow (like Ohio where I grew up), you just get on with it and drive over snow-packed roads.

Weather has little effect on my mood. I don’t even care if I know the forecast because what will come will come. That’s life on planet earth. Sometimes plans have to be changed because of it, but that’s not the end of the world — it just time for being flexible and perhaps creative.

We had one bad summer storm a couple of years ago that took out our power for almost three days. (We’re lucky we have a generator so not everything in fridges and freezers spoiled.) It was a bit of an adventure. Priorities change, you think in different ways. We read by flashlight, went to bed a bit earlier, slept in a downstairs bedroom because it was cooler on the lowest level, and we survived just fine.

Yes, a dreary day can make you want to curl up under a blanket, read, and have hot chocolate. But that’s an opportunity, not depressive unless you let it be.

My husband and daughter #1 do suffer from SAD. They each print out a chart showing the length of days in the winter, so they’ll know when they might start feeling better. My husband’s a bit amusing because by the end of winter, and the year’s shortest days, he’s grouchier, jumpier, restless, and probably a bit depressed. Any excuse to do anything outside will be snatched up like it’s a golden moment — even if he has no good reason for going out in freezing temperatures.

I’m not quite as enthusiastic as John Ruskin, but I admire his outlook: “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

Dr. Anthony D’Angelo is a contemporary motivational speaker, educator and writer.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a writer, art patron, watercolorist, a prominent English social thinker, and philanthropist

 

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