You’ve probably uttered it on a hot day – “This heat is driving me crazy!” Well, there might be more truth to that statement than you know. Dr. Dennis Driscoll, a bio-meteorologist and professor at Texas A&M University, says that the weather can affect your personality. For example, strong winds – like the Santa Anas in California, or the fohn winds of the Alps – tend to make people irritable. Why? Because wind alters the number of positively and negatively charged molecules in the air – and in turn that affects your brain’s biochemistry. Here are some other ways the weather can affect your mood, courtesy of Oprah’s “O” magazine.
- Let’s say there’s a cold snap. Dr. Lawrence Palinkas is a professor of social policy and health at the University of Southern California, and he’s studied the impact of extremely cold temperatures on Antarctic researchers. He found that people tend to get angry and irritable after prolonged exposure to cold. Also, it can alter your thyroid hormones and cause depression and short-term memory loss. Experts advise going on a winter vacation to someplace warm, to help preserve your sanity.
- Heat waves can make your TEMPER boil. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the number of assaults over a 45-year period went up during the hotter years. Researchers suggest that uncomfortably high temperatures increase “annoyance-provoked” crimes, in which the primary goal is to hurt someone. They predict that the number of assaults will increase by 115,000 each year, because the earth’s temperature is rising.
- The last weather/personality link has to do with spring fever. Dr. Matthew Keller is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After studying 600 people, he found that sunny spring days and warm weather seem to boost mood, and makes us more open to new ideas.