Rain on the Brain
The Blue Door is based in Southern California. It doesn’t rain here often, but…
Today it’s raining.
We’ve come to the agreement behind the Blue Door that we like the rain. However there are a lot of folks who are really bummed out today about the weather, probably staying in and binging Disney + (Netflix is so yesterday). Some of us like the rain, and others don’t.
Why is that? How does the weather really affect our brains?
Many of you are probably familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a very real and serious mental condition caused by lack of sunlight in the winter months. Basically less sun causes the brain to produce more melatonin and less serotonin, making us feel lethargic, withdrawn, and cognitively impaired.
Interestingly enough, those negative effects associated with SAD stem from an evolutionary advantage that our ancestors utilized to survive harsh winters. This genetic hand-me-down is how scientists explain why not all of us experience the same effects of reduced sunlight.
It’s all in ya genes kid.
But seriously, it is. Studies have suggested that you are likely to favor the same weather conditions as your parents. Most likely all stemming from your ancestors background and where/how they survived the climate and weather of the region they lived in.
Pretty interesting stuff.
Sorry, we got a little carried away there. What about the rain? How does it directly affect our brains?
The surprising truth? Three major studies have shown that rainy days have little to no effect on our mood.
So why do we feel bummed out on rainy days?
Some scientists suggest that we may be responding to a culturally transmitted idea: that weather affects mood. Effectively, we think the weather has significant effects on our mood because our cultural society thinks and says it does, so we accept this and succumb to those feelings.
Not all scientists agree. There is a lot of contrary data suggesting that the effect of weather on our brains can be significant but is difficult to measure.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions. For example, we know crime rates drop in rainy weather, and rise in hot weather. But we don’t know why.
There’s still a lot to learn, and that makes us curious.
So go ahead, curl up with a good book (just kidding we know you’re watching Disney +) and enjoy your rainy day. We’ll let you know when we learn more.
Thinking of someone who likes the rain? Share this with them.