Weather And Happiness | An Overview of The Links
Weather and temperatures influence our mood and well-being. This information is the result of a study carried out using a hedonometer, a thermometer of feelings. But what we think is only sometimes valid! Here is an overview of the links between weather and happiness.
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth, an Irish economist, imagined the first hedonometer, an accurate barometer of happiness. He first wrote about it in the 1880s in his work “Mathematical Psychics.” His psychophysical machine records the degree of pleasure of individuals, thanks to a kind of seismograph needle. This remains at 0 when the person feels nothing and varies increasingly upwards when the level of satisfaction is positive. This hedonometer of subjective well-being estimates the influence of numerous variables such as level of education, income, number of friends or even the wealth of the country where the individual lives. It was later used to measure the influence of time on 84 American students. Not surprisingly, those interviewed on a sunny day were happier than those contacted on a lousy weather day.
Weather Criteria Attributed to Happiness
The first weather criterion that has an impact on well-being is physiological: brightness. This acts on the level of serotonin, a hormone also known as a “happiness hormone”. In addition, this brightness makes outdoor activities easier: walks, relaxing on the beach, relaxing on the terrace or picnicking in a park. When the sun shines, most people feel good.
On the one hand, temperature preferences depend on wages and housing expenses. The wealthier classes agree to pay higher electricity bills for heating in the coldest countries and air conditioning in hot countries. Likewise, they are willing to receive lower wages to live in a place that matches their climatic preferences. Overall, people prefer mild winters and moderately hot summers.
Temperature and brightness are not the only weather elements determining our well-being or discomfort. Humidity also plays an important role, especially when it is hot. Indeed, humidity blocks the evacuation of body heat through sweating, making individuals more prone to heat stroke. As for rain, it is only appreciated when the temperature is high.
Summer Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Happiness
As a general rule, the arrival of good weather makes people happy. Blue skies, longer days, sun caressing the skin, swimsuits, Zen attitude. But, contrary to what one might believe, this is only the case for some. Although summer depression affects less than 1% of the population, it is characterized by a lack of sleep, feverishness and irritability. Here are the causes of this discomfort:
Too Much Brightness
For some, too much light can cause deep discomfort. Sunshine modifies the production of melatonin and sometimes disrupts the circadian rhythm. The heat can also prevent you from sleeping well. Part of the population fears sunny days. These people are anxious as soon as spring arrives.
Seeing all these people so happy at the summer announcement can make you feel blue. The season of happiness is not unanimous. Summer blues exist. This enthusiastic standard can make some people sad. The rising temperatures create a media frenzy: people who smile and wear sunglasses, take advantage of the water points and eat ice cream with friends, it’s as if no one has the right to feel sad. This results in a feeling of loneliness and exclusion. Just as in winter, it is seen as usual to want to stay at home; in summer, not wanting to go out and enjoy can be questioned or even judged.
A Happiness Inaccessible to Some
In our culture, happiness is associated with summer, vacations, and the beach. The problem is that this happiness is not accessible to everyone. Many people need help to take vacations or go to the seaside. Financial insecurity and psychological vulnerability are underestimated. Thousands of people spend the summer working and living in a small, dark apartment. Also, the summer months can be synonymous with anxiety because there are too many people, it’s too hot, and you get sunburned.
Comparison to Others
In the summer, it’s easy to compare yourself to others. While colleagues and friends stick to the dream model, we can be locked in an office where it is too hot or cold, sending emails that will probably receive an automatic response announcing vacations. During the summer, too, we live more outside, and the social lives of others are more observable. This can be difficult to cope with psychologically if you are a little depressed or if you lack self-confidence. The others are always prettier, they have more friends.
The Emergence of Complexes
When the sun appears, the bodies are revealed and boiling. We look at others with envy and feel obliged to look our best, wearing clothes that are too light for our taste. It is often difficult for a woman to show herself in a swimsuit on a beach to attract attention. The complexes also apply to love life, with summer being presented as “the season of love.” When you are alone, you are made to believe that summer will bring you new people. It can be complicated to live with if this is not the case.
Overall, humans are happier when the sky is blue. However, we should not generalize because sun and heat are sometimes synonymous with discomfort. You can donate to build a better world and help thousands of people get better and feel better!
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