I’ve always felt a little weird because I enjoy stormy weather significantly more than any perfect, sunny day. And like clockwork, every year, I’ll hear people talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which impacts those who tend to start to feel more depressed in the winter when the days begin to get darker and shorter and colder.
But what about those of us who actually feel mentally clarity when the weather is bad? Does anyone else actually like it when it the days get shorter and the weather gets worse?
Recently I’ve found out that there is a number of people who don’t experience SAD in the winter — but during the warmer months instead. This small population is made up of those who enjoy terrible weather, and even credit it to be something that helps alleviate anxiety.
There are an assortment of psychological reasons behind why some of us feel this way. Some psychologists argue that because our brain craves sensory input. The sound of rain or a thunder storm can appease the brain’s demands, which then calms us down. Sun, on the other hand, doesn’t do anything to diminish sensory input and keeps our brains wanting more stimulation.
There’s also the pink noise phenomenon. While most people have heard of or are familiar with white noise, which can help with sleep, pink noise has frequencies that allows the sounds to engage with your subconscious, without distracting you. Pink noise is typically found in nature — think ocean waves crashing, wind going through leaves in a tree, rainfall, etc.
Basically, when you’re in silence (in this case: think about walking to work on a bright, summer day), your brain is searching for stimulation. Even though the street might be busy and you might be able to hear people talking on the phone or car doors slamming, they aren’t necessarily sounds your brain welcomes. For lack of a better word, they’re actually very noises, so they don’t fulfill your brain’s desire for input. For some people, like myself, this “silence” can lead to overthinking and anxiety. But, when you’re exposed to examples of pink noise (in this case: think about walking that same route to work, but this time when it’s raining), your brain’s need to stimulation is somewhat satisfied because the pink noise is feeding into your need for sensory input.
This would explain why certain people (myself included!) also say they feel more productive during rainy days.
Science aside, I have always felt more at ease during days with bad weather. Stormy days with cold weather and hectic rainfall are my absolute favorite. I can’t really articulate it eloquently in a way that does it any justice, but bad weather takes the pressure off of me to be a real person. If you’re like me and feel more happiness from a thunderstorm than a great beach day, there’s a really good Reddit thread with all sorts of pluviophiles explaining why bad weather makes them feel less anxious and why rain is definitively the best forecast.