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Point of View: Beautiful day should be defined by actions, not weather

Nov. 4, 2010

By Caty Hirst
City Editor

I woke up yesterday, groggily rolled out of bed and peeked out the window only to find, to my great despair, that it was cloudy, rainy and it just looked cold. You know it is going to be cold when it looks cold and there isn't any snow on the ground.

I promptly rolled back into bed and set my alarm for 30 minutes later, determined to sleep through the grossness outside my cozy bed. Sadly my 30-minute snooze did not take as long as I would have hoped, and I was forced to get out of bed and dash to the bathroom to get ready.

Still, I left the house in sweatpants and a warm fleece, focused on maintaining as much comfort as possible.

I dragged through my day, tired and not particularly sad, but not particularly happy either.

It didn't take me long to blame my listless mood on the weather. The weather was gross, I was in a gross mood--it seemed like a logical correlation to me.

So I decided to look up how much weather affects mood, and while there is scientific evidence to show that weather can affect mood, it does not affect it overly much.

According to an article by health.msn.com, "the rain can be guilty by association, but not causation."

For example, a study done by the American Psychological Association said that there is a difference between daily weather and seasonal weather. Daily weather variations, such as Tuesday being wet and cold, have little to no scientific effect on people's mood. Seasonal weather changes, however, can have a greater impact on mood.

Seasonal weather changes have been known to produce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), in which a person suffers from winter and fall depression, primarily due to a lack of sunlight, although these cases are few and far between.

So basically, assuming I'm not suffering from seasonal depression, blaming the weather for my bad mood is bunk. Total, complete baloney.

Which left me floundering for a minute. What could possibly be the source of my bad mood if not the weather?

While the weather may not have a scientific effect on my mood, I can choose to let the weather, or other events during the day, transform positive emotions into negative emotions, according to health.msn.com.

Likewise, we can choose to transform negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Some suggestions for transferring emotions include listening to uplifting music, stress management, getting exercise and even looking at pictures from your vacation.

In an effort to determine how helpful these tips were, I quickly logged on to Facebook to look at beautiful spring break pictures, where I was frolicking in the sunshine. I listed to the best music on my iPod, "Days like These" by Natalie Grant.

And even though I didn't have time to go out and run the Bear Trail, simply making the effort to be happy made it just a little bit easier to ignore the weather outside and helped me stop the weather from ruining what should be a perfectly beautiful day.

Did you jump in a puddle in rain boots? Did you skip through the rain to one of your classes? Did you bundle up in scarves and gloves, not just because you are cold, but because they are colorful and fun?

Because beautiful days should not defined by the rain or the snow, the sun or the clouds.

A beautiful day should be defined by what you do.

Caty Hirst is a senior journalism major from Caddo, Okla., and the city editor for The Lariat.