In my blog of 23 April 2015, I wrote about the link between weather, mood and pain. In my blog of 7 October 2015, I wrote about the 5 happiest countries which are all in a certain climate type. Something was bugging me though. It was hard for me to understand why these “happy” people can also be considered as “cold” people, especially by people from warmer regions (eg, Brazil).
Through a Google search, I just noticed an interesting article called: “Weather is Your Mood and Climate is Your Personality”. Basically, it provides the connection between my two earlier blogs. In fact, I was just lucky to find this helpful quote in an article on climate change: “Summing up the distinction between short-term changes in the weather and long term climate trends in today’s “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout, Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society, used nine simple words: “weather is your mood and climate is your personality.”
My Google search also revealed that many blogs / articles try to link “weather” and “personality”. When reading those articles you notice that they confuse the words “mood” and “personality”. Mood is a temporary state of mind while personality is a rather permanent state of mind. Changing weather causes changing moods but not changing personalities. Latter idea would be absurd.
The day’s weather can make one person cheery while causing another to feel grumpy. Now research suggests we are hard-wired in how we respond to weather. Scientists have identified 4 personality types based on how weather affects a person’s frame of mind. This study, which ran in the northern, temperate climate of western Europe, looked at 3 measures of daily weather: percentage of sunshine, average temperature, and hours of precipitation (eg, rain). These were matched with 3 indicators of mood: happiness, anxiety and anger. The mood data came from a large, ongoing project in the Netherlands titled Research on Adolescent Development and Relationships (RADAR). (source)
The scientists characterised 4 groups of people which they labelled Summer Lovers, Summer Haters, Rain Haters and Unaffected. Then the data revealed something even more compelling. Mothers tend to have the same weather reactions as their sons and daughters. In other words, weather personality types appear to run in families. Whether this is due to genetics, or just a parent’s attitudes rubbing off onto their children, or vice versa, the study couldn’t say. Nevertheless, this finding bolsters the theory that for many people weather and mood are strongly linked. (source)
If your outlook is Unaffected by weather, you are like nearly half (48 %) of the mothers and their teenagers in this Dutch study. The rest have moods that rise and fall significantly with the weather. Among these, the most common weather mood type is the Summer Lovers which makes up 23 % of people. Summer Haters types comprise 19 percent, while just 10% are Rain Haters. These personality types prevail even though The Netherlands has a rather moderate climate. (source)
The perceived coldness in people may relate to the hormone serotonin. Healthline: Researchers from the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne found that levels of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory, and mood – are lower during the winter than the summer. The research team noted that the only factor that affected participants’ moods was the amount of sunlight they were exposed to on any given day. More sunlight meant better moods; less sunlight lead to symptoms of depression. The study suggests that low levels of serotonin directly correlate with seasonal affective disorder, which most often occurs during winter months. (eg, Lancet, NCBI)
So I guess it’s entirely possible to be happy (personality) in a cold climate. Even in cold climates you will find Sun Lovers & Haters (mood). And sometimes the physical coldness may translate into emotional coldness, especially in case of periods with limited sunlight. Case closed.