The weather can impact our mood and our happiness. But did you know that also cloudy days help us think clearly?
The weather can impact our mood and our happiness. But did you know that also cloudy days help us think clearly?.
We often talk of our mood with reference to the weather: gloomy, sunny, or under a cloud. But does the weather actually affect our mood?
In an interview with The Conversation, Nick Haslam, Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne, explained how sunny skies and rainy days could influence our mood and consequently change our behaviors.
Although rainy weather tends to depress people's moods, according to New York University's Professor Adam Alter, cloudy days help us think more clearly. In his book "Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave," he explains how we tend to stay at home when the day is grey. As a result, we end up contemplating some point in the void and start reflecting on our lives.
In contrast with a sunny day that makes us want to go outside and enjoy the nice weather, cloudy days invite us to spend time with our own thoughts. How many times have you enjoyed a cup of coffee, chocolate, or tea looking at the window immerse in your thoughts?
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Professor Alter explains this phenomenon in his book by saying, "sunlight numbs the mind to risk and consideration." His affirmations come from a study conducted by social psychologists in Sidney in which they put ten items on a store's counter and asked the customers if they could remember those items.
The study found that customers could remember three times more on cloudy days than during sunny days. When the sky was bright, they didn't pay much attention to the toys and decorations on the store's counter. According to Alter, it seems like cloudy days allow us to focus more and be more aligned with our thoughts.
On the other hand, Nick Haslam assures that a sunny day creates more positive moods and a sense of vitality. While it's sunny, we tend to be more likely to be active, going out, and sharing experiences with others. Here's a significant difference: we are more likely to stay at home and be alone on cloudy days. As a result, we remain silent and in a reflective attitude.
Haslam explains the biological side of this phenomenon: when you are exposed to sunny days, light produces vitamin D, which promotes the production of serotonin on the brain, a chemical that helps to regulate and elevate our mood as well.
The weather can directly affect our mood. When we feel good, we tend to be more helpful and kind. As proof of it, Haslam highlights a study that proves that people are more likely to tip waiters and waitresses on sunny days. Also, we are more likely to help strangers in need and respond positively during sunny days.
With a cloudy sky, people tend to find a way out of it by reading or enjoying a hot beverage with themselves. In conclusion, even when some people feel sadder during gloomy days, they can be, in fact, a perfect time for journaling, thinking, and meditate.