We all have our favorite season and kind of weather. Some adore winter, with its cold and rain. On the other hand, others prefer the summer and the heat. However, beyond the simple element of taste, this distinction is often based on the impact that environmental conditions have on our emotions. For this reason, we’re going to talk about how summer affects your mood.
We’re complex beings and we tend to be influenced at several different levels. These include our biology, our internal states, and our behaviors. These all change and adapt based on external conditions. Consequently, there are multiple explanations for the way we are. Furthermore, as humans, we all experience things totally differently from each other. Below we review the main scientific findings in this regard.
How does summer affect your mood?
Better adjustment to light-dark cycles
The preference for summer has a biological basis . In fact, a study has shown that exposure to bright light has a beneficial effect on mood. Therefore, being exposed to sunlight will make you feel better. In the same way, the absence of sunlight tends to correspond with depression.
It’s for this reason that light therapy is recognized as an effective treatment for depression. Furthermore, it can be as effective as antidepressants. This is because exposure to light allows your suprachiasmatic nuclei to function properly. It synchronizes your internal clock with the natural light-dark cycles.
In addition, sunlight exponentially multiplies the production of serotonin. This is a hormone that’s intrinsically linked to feelings of happiness, relaxation, and satisfaction. For this reason, during the summer, you’re more likely to experience these types of positive states. This is more prevalent in locations where there’s a really marked difference between each season of the year.
Greater social life
During the summer you have more free time to spend on leisure and social activities. Indeed, not only is it the time when many people enjoy their annual vacations, but it’s also common for companies to modify or reduce working hours. Furthermore, socially, you tend to spend more time outside, interacting with your friends and family.
These ties with other human beings are both necessary and beneficial. That’s because increased social contact often translates into greater subjective well-being. In addition, the reduction of work pressures allows you to relax and disconnect. This reduces your stress levels.
Not everyone loves summer. Why?
In view of the above data, it would be easy to assume that summer is positive for everyone. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, for some people, the arrival of the summer season, with its extended hours of sunlight and high temperatures causes problems and complications.
For example, excessive heat can lead to a worsening of euphoric and manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. As a matter of fact, in general, all people with a psychological disorder are more likely to suffer in extreme temperatures.
However, there are also difficulties for the general population. In fact, the suffocating heat of summer, constant sweating, and the continuous work the body has to do to regulate temperature can lead to increased irritability and aggressive behaviors. It can also generate apathy, fatigue, trepidation, and general decline.
Furthermore, in these rather unkind conditions, falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep can often be a real challenge for some people. Indeed, insomnia and tiredness take their toll on their state of mind and their cognitive abilities. As a matter of fact, drowsiness, bad moods, and difficulties concentrating and performing properly are common.
Lastly, there are those who experience what’s known as summer seasonal affective disorder. This is characterized by the appearance of feelings of sadness, melancholy, and dejection with the arrival of the summer season. It’s far less common than seasonal winter depression. Nevertheless, it still affects around ten percent of people.
What to do if summer negatively affects your mood
If you form part of the latter group of people and are negatively affected by heat, there are a number of measures you can take. For example, try to stay hydrated and avoid going out in the sun when it’s at its hottest. Also, try and establish a good sleep routine so you can improve your rest and reduce the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Finally, try to acquire tools to manage your emotions. In fact, meditation and breathing exercises can often help reduce irritability and improve your mood.
With all these measures at your disposal, you should find that you’re able to take advantage of the summer months. In fact, whatever your situation may be, try to use this time to reduce stress, have a rest, and enjoy your leisure time.
The Effects of Heat on Cognitive Performance
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