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Rain and Mood – is There a Connection?

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2022
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

Spring is the rainiest season in the Northern Hemisphere. Clouds form from water vapors that evaporate from the surface of the earth. Raindrops fall to earth when clouds become saturated with water droplets. It rains more in the spring because warmer air holds more moisture than colder air. As warm air rises and cools, it can no longer hold that moisture and results in rain. Rainy spring days and passing spring showers provide water for plants and living things, so many people consider it a good thing. While most people enjoy some rain, it can also be an inconvenience, especially when it interferes with outdoor activities. There are some folks who dislike or even hate rain because they believe that rainy weather has a negative effect on their mood. For years, a connection between the two were chalked up to mere coincidences or overactive imaginations. However, increasingly, science is backing evidence that precipitation can adversely affect how some people feel.

WebMD, a leading source of information pertaining to human health and wellbeing, describes several studies that demonstrate that weather can negatively impact emotions. In one study, nearly 9 percent of people fell into the “rain haters” category. This group expressed feeling angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation. Another study demonstrated that rain increased the number of negative posts on Facebook. Not only can dark and gloomy weather increase feelings of irritability and aggravation, but some people report feeling lonely, sad, or depressed under negative weather conditions. Despite this, science demonstrates that there is hope.

It’s important to inform your physician of weather-related mood changes as medical help can be sought. Your doctor will likely suggest appropriate forms of therapy that are helpful. For example, light therapy is a great way to treat seasonal affective disorders (SAD) and other conditions by temporary exposure to artificial light. In some cases, light therapy is preferred over antidepressants because it is safe when administered properly and has good success rates in reducing depressive behavior. This type of treatment works by making up for lost sunlight exposure. Research shows that light therapy can boost serotonin, a chemical messenger that’s believed to act as a mood stabilizer. Light therapy can also help to reset the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythm, the latter which is defined as the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour period.

For those seeking to combat mild cases of weather-associated “blahs,” keeping busy by performing healthy activities is often beneficial. Maintaining a normal routine can help engage the mind and pass the time in a positive manner. Read a good book, play with your pet, watch an uplifting movie, listen to happy music, visit a friend, craft, and even consider going for a walk in the rain. WebMD provides advice from Julia Samton, MD, a psychiatrist from Manhattan Neuropsychiatric. “I encourage people to really try to make sure they walk outside, even when it’s cold and rainy,” the doctor shares, “Even though it might not seem that light out, you’ll still get some exposure to UV rays which can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and boost your mood.” Healthy eating, staying hydrated with water, exercising, and getting adequate sleep are also productive ways to boost one’s mood.

Depressions provoked by seasonal change occur more commonly in women and in adolescents and young adults. Often, they are prompted by weather changes associated with less sunshine, such as wintry or rainy seasons. March and April are often rainy months in the northern hemisphere and thus can lead to problems related to mood. Anyone who experiences severe or prolonged episodes of depression should seek immediate help. Those with mild symptoms are encouraged to dialogue with their medical doctors to rule out other causes, such as thyroid conditions, and to troubleshoot ways to prevent dips in mood and to stay happy and healthy during cold, dreary, or rainy periods.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harming others, or feel that life is not worth living, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for confidential support at 800-273-8255.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as medical advice.

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2 years ago

I never wanted the Army to station me in the Great Northwest due to the very problems this article addresses. Yes, it can be devastating beautiful several days a year. And there is a short dry hot period that temps you to buy air conditioning. Just to set the record straight, it rarely rains, it rarely snows and it rarely cools below freezing. But for months on end, it drizzles and it’s cloudy and the temp hovers around 35 – 45. So most of the year it wet, cold and cloudy. We rarely have horizonal rain, snow beyond 4 inches at a time, ice storms or large hail. We do have them once in a while and things are a mess for a few days when it happens. But it’s short lived, maybe a week at worst. But the natives are immune to it and live like it’s normal. Most wear shorts, sleeveless shirts and sandals all year long. Me, I’m 3 layered bungled up and they look like they’re going to the beach. The bottom line is, if you suffer from depression, can’t stand the cold, don’t like being wet all the time don’t come to the Pacific North West. This morning it’s 45, clear and I’m looking at the mountain – it’s beautiful and majestic but this evening the clouds will return with the drizzle. It’s depressing until you learn to live with it. It’s not easy but worth the effort – I’m still here and don’t expect to leave.

2 years ago

I love to hear the rain at night, with a distant thunder. It’s very calming when I’m depressed or anxious.

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