Published on July 27, 2021

The View from my Seat

Here comes that rainy day feeling again...

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

All the recent rain started me wondering: Can rainy days really get you down?

Researchers, it turns out, agree with the Carpenters’ song.

Those who have studied the relationship between the weather and mood have determined that if you feel unhappy when it rains, it’s more than just your imagination.

These researchers found almost 9 percent of people are “rain haters.” These are people who feel angrier and more depressed when a downpour starts.

Researchers have also found that on rainy days there are more negative postings on Facebook.

Tecsia Evans, a clinical psychologist, says “when it gets dark and dreary out, some people definitely have more susceptibility to feeling lonely or down. It’s pretty common to see a change in mood – such as feeling sadness or lower self-esteem – when it’s rainy outside.”

Researchers have determined that in addition to the “rain haters” there are three other distinct types of people when it comes to reacting to weather.

There are the “summer lovers” (better mood with warm, sunny weather), the “summer haters” (worse mood with warm, sunny weather) and the “unaffected” (little link between weather and mood).

To which group do you belong?

Given the number of rainy days we have had so far this year, I would say these are sad times if you are a “rain hater.”

On the other hand, if you are a “summer lover”, I wonder if you will still be saying that in August.

One thing you can say about Texas is that we have enough changes in our weather that a person’s mood can swing between happy or sad in the same day … sometimes the same hour.

As for me, I have switched my weather preferences since coming down with a spinal cord disorder that put me in a wheelchair almost 10 years ago.

Prior to my disability, I would classify myself as a “summer lover.” I enjoyed the outdoors. I could play tennis, ride my bike and play hide-and-seek with granddaughters.

Now, those sunny summer days I once relished put me in a bad mood. For purely selfish and ignoble reasons, I have turned into a “summer hater.”

That’s because I get restless and envious as I watch others doing what I once did, but no longer can. I feel left out. It’s on those beautiful days that I miss my old, more-active life and hate being confined to my wheelchair.

I also have grown to appreciate rainy days. I think I will create my own category: “Rain lover.”

When the rains come, I take comfort in knowing that I am not the only one unable to do what I want. Rain is an equalizer. Others have had their day ruined, too. In a sense, everyone is disabled. My life becomes less frustrating and more bearable.

I wish my disability allowed me to enjoy warm weather more. Research shows there are lots of benefits.

In a study published in Psychological Science, researchers followed 605 participants to determine the connection between mood and weather.

They found that pleasant weather was related to a better mood, better memory and “broadened” cognitive style during the spring as subjects spend more time outside.

But researchers also report that warm weather has its downside.

A study published in Science in 2013 found that as temperatures rose, the frequency of interpersonal violence increased by 4 percent and conflict between groups by 14 percent.

Finally, a study in the British Journal of Psychology should be of particular interest to Brazoria County residents. Researchers determined that high levels of humidity “lowered scores on concentration while increasing reports of sleepiness.”

Excuse me, but it’s nap time.

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)