Always take the weather with you?

It’s been a week of some pretty wet weather here on the south coast of England. I’ve already lost count of the amount of times I’ve towelled down my dog at the doormat before releasing him into the rest of the house, or had to change my clothes in the middle of the day because of walking to close to those extra-large drops of water rolling off the tops of buildings or trees, and I hear there’s more on the way. This kind of weather tends to get people a bit down in the dumps, more short tempered than usual, and a little lethargic. We don’t want to go outside, we just want to hide inside, close the curtains so we can’t see how horrible it is outside and wait under a duvet until it passes. But why?

Well it’s obvious. We’re not ducks, we don’t really enjoy getting rained on. The rain ruins our hair, gets all in our clothes and makes us cold and wet, and the lack of sun has an effect on everyone. We can let it get us down, or we can just accept it and deal with it. If you can’t stretch to embracing it, fair enough, but should it depress us? I don’t think so.

I hear people say things like, “Oh this weather is so depressing!” Really? Depressing? This is a word I don’t like to use lightly, it’s a strong word, and if we talk ourselves into feeling it because of the weather, this seems fairly irresponsible to me.

Now I am not discounting that seasonal affective disorder is a real thing. It’s very real for some people. Natural sunlight benefits us more than we realise, so we’re all affected by the lack of it in winter, some more than others.

I myself am rarely happier than when I can sit out in the sun. And this winter I have been suffering bad insomnia worse than previous years, but my brain has been desperate to make me fall asleep at about 6 in the evening. This is pretty common and a lot of people find their sleeping patterns are affected by the shortening of the days and the changing of the clocks. I personally am in favour of scrapping daylight saving time as there has been a lot of research into the psychological effects of the day starting and ending earlier, and it is believed that daylight at the end of the day is more psychologically beneficial to us than more daylight in the morning, but I’m getting off topic.

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed a pattern in my ramblings. Yes, it’s all about our attitude. NLP tells us that, “Everyone has their own unique model of the world.” So what does this mean? This means that the world is how we perceive it. Everything around us will be perceived differently for every single person. There is no set model of the world.

Let me give you an example, for us in England, a 30 degree day is pretty much the hottest we’re likely to get in summer, so to us this seems scorching! We’ll have health warnings out and everything. Now let’s say a distant pen friend from… Somewhere far away where temperatures can reach 40 to 50 degrees comes to stay. They’re going to find our temperatures pretty tame, aren’t they? While we’re sweating and thinking we’re going to die of heat exhaustion they’re going for a jog like it’s nothing. Then our other friend from Iceland comes to stay and they really are dying of heat exhaustion after 3 minutes in our 30 degree summers day! Why is this? It’s simple, their world is different from ours. They’re used to a much hotter or colder world than we are, but is the temperature actually different? I mean, 30 degrees is still 30 degrees. That’s a figure, a scientific measurement. Whoever stands in it is experiencing the same temperature, but they’re having very different experiences. The only difference is the difference in everyone’s model of the world around them.

What is my point I hear you say? My point is, in the same temperature, one person might be saying, “This is ridiculous! It’s so hot it’s horrible!” Another might say, “This is lovely weather!” It’s neither really, it’s just 30 degrees. It’s neither lovely nor horrible. That’s just a personal opinion or perception. So we can use the same principal with the rain. Is the rain horrible? Well it’s wet. It might be a little inconvenient, but horrible is purely our perception of it, and we can choose to rationalise that if we want to, just to give ourselves a more cheerful day really.

We don’t help ourselves when talking about the weather. Unless it’s bright sunshine we use words like grim, horrible, depressing, disgusting! Can we just ditch these words and stop talking ourselves into feeling negative, and just say it like it is? It’s raining! We need rain to survive, whether we like it or not. So instead of walking into work, shaking out your umbrella and saying, “What an awful day!” Next time just try saying hello or whatever you would say if it wasn’t raining. That’s my challenge to you. I’m not saying I’m so evolved past all negative feelings that I never feel slightly hacked off when I get home wet through and with a wet dog that now has that ever distinctive wet dog fragrance, but we can both dry off, we won’t rust or melt if we get wet, and isn’t that feeling of putting on warm dry clothes just so good? Even my dog wags his tail when I cover him in a big towel and rub all that water off him.

It’s the little things we do and say every day which can make a huge difference to how we actually feel inside, this one is a good way to start. I’m off to take my dog for a walk in the rain just so I can make my point!