There are four distinct types of people when it comes to weather and mood, according to a study published in Emotion in 2011.
- Summer Lovers (better mood with warmer and sunnier weather)
- Unaffected (weak associations between weather and mood)
- Summer Haters (worse mood with warmer and sunnier weather)
- Rain Haters (particularly bad mood on rainy days)
Although my mood seems to be better with more sun, I understand why a substantial number of folks get more depressed in the summer. Extreme heat is hard to tolerate. In fact, in a study published in Science in 2013, researchers reported that as temperatures rose, the frequency of interpersonal violence increased by 4 percent, and intergroup conflicts by 14 percent.
Ten percent of those diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder suffer symptoms at the brightest time of the year. The summer’s brutal heat, bright light, and long days can affect a person’s circadian rhythm and contribute to depression for the opposite reasons that winter conditions do.
If you’re a Summer Hater, or just notice that your mood is affected negatively by the heat, here are some summer depression busters that may help you better tolerate these months — maybe even enjoy them.
1. Plan Something Fun
You don’t need to plan some elaborate cross-country trip that’s going to deplete your savings. Just taking off an afternoon to have lunch with a friend or go kayaking by yourself can be a pleasant break and something to look forward to. When I was working through a severe depression, someone told me to plan something enjoyable every few weeks to keep me motivated to keep going. Scheduling fun activities sporadically throughout the summer might help carry you through some hot afternoons.