It rained all day yesterday and it isn’t looking much better today. As the oodles of poodles and buckets of bobcats descended from the heavy dark clouds that covered the sky I realised that watching the rivers of water run down my windowpane was making me a little sad.
I am actually quite found of rain, I love the sound it makes on the roof and jumping in and out of puddles, in the right footwear, is so much fun. I love the smell of grass just after rain and you don’t get rainbows without it. There is something cosy about sitting in with a hot cup of tea and watching big drops of water splash on the windowsill and I also love the sensation of summer rain on my skin and hair and running barefoot over waterlogged grass. But for some reason the endless downpour yesterday watered down my enjoyment and turned it blue.
There are a lot of arguments for and against how weather can affect our mood and bring out the best and the worst in us, but it seems to be more complicated than rain=sad and sun=happy. Although it is true that sunlight helps the body release endorphins, those happy little hormones that make us feel good, a new study has shown that the affect that weather has on people depends on the individual.
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is commonly known to take hold of people in autumn and dissipate in spring but in one of ten there seems to be a reverse affect, as the sun climes higher in the sky and the weather becomes warmer their spirits sink and their mood turns cold. Some people even seem to be only affected when it rains.
And then there is the good old fashions allergy season that makes our hooters toot and eyes run. Interestingly another study shows that the affect allergies have on the body are similar to those experienced when depressed. Not only does our nose tickle and our eyes itch when those pesky pollens come a knocking but our immune-system goes into overdrive trying to battle the annoyance. While doing so it releases little protein molecules called Cytokines. These little busy bodies are messengers that alert the cells and cause inflammation. Too much inflammation makes us fall into something called ‘sickness behaviour’, we feel constantly tired, we don’t want to eat, having sex is out of the question and we really only want to be left alone. All typical depressive behaviours.
But none of this explained the reason why I my heart was heavy and my mood was changing it’s shade yesterday. I have no explanation other than maybe the drops of water reminded me of tears. As the rainclouds are still hanging around today I think I will let the rain remind me of a trip I took on the winding river Nile or dancing in the back-garden with my first love in a thunderstorm or maybe I’ll try and find the time to take a walk in it and enjoy the rain for itself.