In Maryland, spring and summer bring with them plenty of warmth and sunlight. While warmer weather is often associated with more smiles and a better mood, is that really the case? Will sunshine improve your mood, or could it leave you feeling just as blue as rain?
There Is No One Answer
Unfortunately, there is no one answer as to whether or not warmer weather will improve your mood. If you experience seasonal affective disorder when days are shorter in the winter, you will probably experience a dramatic mood improvement during the spring and summer due to increased daylight.
However, for the vast majority of people, weather has a small effect on mood that is sometimes counterintuitive. In one 2008 study of over 1,600 people designed to examine feelings alongside local weather, researchers found that no weather conditions predicted a positive effect, like feeling happy or inspired. Instead, there was a negative effect found when temperatures increased! Researchers were surprised to see that sun can actually leave you feeling irritable or annoyed instead of improving your mood.
Another study in 2004 found that, when the temperature change was more dramatic, like from spring to winter or fall to summer, there was a measurable mood boost. Patients who spent time outside on warm and sunny days had more positive memories and moods. When the weather was not as nice, and when patients stayed inside, their memories and moods were not as pleasant.
There Are Some Benefits of Sunshine
While warmer weather won’t necessarily improve your mood, it can provide you with plenty of other mood-boosting indirect benefits. Sun and pleasant temperatures make it easier to get outside and get your daily dose of vitamin D. Warmer weather also allows for comfortable outdoor exercise and more time spent in nature. While weather isn’t necessarily the actual thing improving your mood, it can enable a number of other mood-boosting activities.
Are You Feeling Blue this Summer?
If you waited all winter for the promise of sunshine boosting your mood only to find that you’re still feeling sad, listless or unmotivated, you are not alone. Summer can be just as stressful as any other season. If you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to reach out.
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.