Do the Four Seasons Have an Effect on Your Mental Health?

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · December 9, 2019

Where do you live? While you might not think about the four seasons as having a dramatic effect on who you are, plenty of research indicates that the seasons can affect our mental health. Whether you love the cold or loathe the icy chill of winter, here is what everyone should know about the four seasons and mental health.

 

The Change in Seasons and Your Mental Health

 

More than the change in seasons, the changes in the length of the day have an effect on mental health. Length of day is typically longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, which is one of the reasons why people experience the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). How does your body know that the length of the day is changing? Your circadian rhythm! The circadian clock is what keeps time for your body. It is the mechanism that tells your body it’s time to wake up or time for bed, and it integrates with many other parts of the body, like hormone release, metabolism, mood and temperature regulation.

 

What does that have to do with the four seasons? When there is less light during the day, your body’s circadian clock will be disrupted. One studyfound that people produce less serotonin when there is less sunlight in the winter and more when there was increased sunlight during the summer. It only makes sense that, with all of the disruption that the daylight savings time and the four seasons cause and the decrease in serotonin production, many people experience negative mental health side effects.

 

Are People Who Live in Places Without the Four Seasons Happier?

 

In short, no! Because we all undergo the decrease in sunlight that takes place as a result of daylight savings time, there is not necessarily an effect on our mental health when we live somewhere without four seasons. The most important factor determining how we feel is not always the cold that we feel when we step outside, but instead the loss of sunlight and the corresponding change in our bodies and our body chemistry.

 

Improve Your Mental Health With CBT Baltimore

 

If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help.  Contact the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.