Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Think the weather affects your mood? You may need to think again.

Written by Andrew Brenard   Posted in:Life / Business Coaching   September 26, 2018

Think the weather affects your mood? You may need to think again.
Summer is now behind us.  The days are getting shorter and we’ll see less and less daylight.  Many people believe this seasonal change brings about lower moods and even depression.  The darker months can be a real ‘slog’ and people long for the clocks to turn again in Spring so they can start feeling themselves again.

This ‘phenomenon` is (very unhelpfully in my opinion!) called SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder).  At the core of this commonly held belief about SAD is that reduced sunlight affects your brain chemistry in a negative way, causing (for some) lack of energy, depression and lowered mood.  If we break this down even further, some people believe that - basically - the weather directly affects their mood.

My main role as a Thrive Consultant® is to train people to look at any negative belief systems they hold and make a realistic and measured appraisal of the evidence for, and against, that belief.  It is extremely important for ALL of us to challenge any limiting (negative) beliefs we hold, as they make our life worse and make us feel out of control.

The seasons don’t affect how you feel, your beliefs do.

Here, I will present you with some evidence that the weather, or the seasons, do not actually directly affect how you feel - it is your beliefs about them.

Firstly, think of a day in the past when the weather was ‘terrible’ (preferably in the depths of winter) and you had a fantastic time.  Maybe it was your birthday, a friend’s birthday or Christmas Day?  I am sure you can think of one. Maybe you had even felt ‘low’ in the weeks before and after this event?  So, what was different on this day when you felt happy?  The weather was still the same (or worse) and I’m pretty sure the weather doesn’t care whether it's your birthday or not.  My point here is you wouldn’t have been able to have a good time, and felt happy, if your mood was directly affected by the weather.

Now, think about a scenario where you invest £20,000 in a wellington boot stand at a late summer festival.  It’s a bit of a risk and you are hoping for rain so you can sell as many pairs of wellies as possible.  In the days before, when you are setting up your stall imagine the weather turns for the worst and it is unseasonably dark, stormy, rainy and cold.  The whole festival turns into a ‘mud bath’ and yet you happily stand there and sell all your boots in record time. Now if you suffered from SAD, would you be miserable, low and depressed after making a huge profit?  My point here is if the weather `makes’ you feel depressed then it wouldn’t matter how much money you made whilst at that festival, you would still feel depressed.  The weather doesn’t care about your profits.

What you believe is up to you.

I am not telling you what to believe, it`s entirely up to you.  There is plenty of ‘evidence’ out there to support your belief system that the weather directly affects your mood if you choose to seek it out.  But how much of this is fact?  How much of this ‘evidence’ is based on discredited models of brain chemistry? 

You need to ask yourself one question; What would make you feel more powerful and in-control during the gloomier months, a belief that YOU are in charge of how good you are going to feel today, or that the darkness and the weather dictates it?


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