Why is it that the British love to talk about the weather? You have to confess that it is a favourite topic of conversation, reflective of our preoccupation with metrological conditions. Of course one reason could be due to our very changeable climate, being influenced by a number of factors – we have weather systems coming at us from the Atlantic; we have cold air coming down from the artic region; we also have weather systems approaching us from the east (and the land mass of the European continent) and sometimes we have Azores highs (my long yearned for favourite!) and all these can make our climate varied and somewhat unpredictable –which must peak our interest in trying to anticipate what Mother Nature might throw our way next.
A question I have long considered is how the weather affects (or doesn’t) our moods. For me, it definitely does and as I’ve grown older, I’ve become ever more aware of it (as has my long suffering hubbie!) I guess the pivotal issue is – what kind of weather you prefer. For example, if, like me, you love, love, love the summertime and the sunshine and you like it hot, then a warm and sunny day will put a spring in your step; however, if you can’t tolerate hot weather well and you come out in a prickly heat rash as soon as the first rays of sun make contact, then you will be less inclined to be bursting into song on a sunny morning. That said, I believe I have observed most people appearing to be in a more cheerful mood when the sunshine graces us with its presence – even on a winter’s day, the sight of a bright sun beaming down from a clear blue sky is enough to lighten your heart. So, I would be so bold to state that, in general, sunshine improves our mood.
As for other types of weather – again, this is a personal thing. For me, I find grey, dull weather depressing; especially when it persists for days at a time. I find this kind of weather frustrating – it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t clear up, it isn’t particularly windy, the sun doesn’t come out – it seems like lazy weather to me and I find myself feeling dull and grey alongside it. Others may welcome an overcast day as respite from sunshine or perhaps they study cloud formations and are interested in the patterns of cumulus.
Then there’s rain – this weather isn’t welcome by me on the whole – Travis’ song “Why does it always rain on me?” is one that hits the nail on the head when I step out only to suffer yet another well-timed downpour! Although, I love the garden and I appreciate that it does very much need rain – as do all living things – you only have to experience a draught to begin eagerly wising for some precipitation; indeed fresh water makes up just a tiny fraction of the water we have on our planet and it is so very precious, especially taking into account climate change and the increasing human population.
Snow is the dream of many a youngster (and those who successfully embrace their inner child). Just think of all the snowballs, snowmen and snow angels that can be made; the sledging and sliding about; watching huge snowflakes gently fluttering down through the icy sky, each one unique in pattern. Yes, I can see the joy of snow – for me it has one major problem – it is icy and cold and arrives in Winter (let’s not mention that season!) As a kid, I couldn’t understand my dad’s dread of seeing a dearth of fluffy snowflakes tumbling from the sky – now I realise he was thinking about sensible things such as, getting snowed in, getting cut off, the roads getting blocked – but from my youthful perspective, the snow was an exciting prelude to icy escapades. Now, I tend to adopt dad’s viewpoint, although I have still been known to build the odd snowman or two!
A meteorological ponderance shouldn’t leave out humidity– this is often mentioned when considering weather impact on mood. When the humidity gets high, people get agitated and angry – how many times have we heard the cry of “It’s too hot!” and this is often when we have high humidity in the air. Persistent high humidity can wear people down- irritability and short temper abound, until the weather finally breaks – maybe by way of a thunderstorm. I know those who are absolutely terrified of thunderstorms – one of my relatives used to hide in the wardrobe during thunderstorms, such was their fear! Personally, I relish the sight of spectacular shocks of lightening coursing their way to earth, accompanied by booming thunder claps (although maybe not at 3am, which seems to be a favourite time for storms!)
Going back to my original question – does the weather affect our moods – I’d conclude that it does – but just how it affects us very much depends on us as individuals and on our preferences for warmth, cold, wet, icy etc. One person’s weather paradise might be another one’s weather nightmare – just think – not many folks relish a foggy Winter’s night, except the child who is hoping to see Rudolph pulling Santa’s sleigh!
Yes, whatever comes our way, we just have to weather it!