13 March 2012

Human Barometer

I don't even know how this works. See, this morning I woke up (too early, but at least it wasn't 3:00AM) to find it had snowed again in the night. Snow. With just a week to go to Equinox. Hello?!? So, I wasn't happy. Dragged my butt for most of the morning, in fact. Bleah, blah, blrgh. Life's too much; can't handle the work I have to do; so tired. Around noon, I had me a sandwich, dragged myself off to bed, and had a nap.

And woke after twenty minutes or so to literally bounce up, cheerful and optimistic. Why? Because the sun had come out. Bright blue sky, most of the snow melted off, and glorious light pouring in the window. Well, the kitchen window, anyway - my bedroom faces West into the mountain, it doesn't often get direct sunlight. And that's my point: I didn't even see that sunshine until I had got out of bed. I felt better just because the sun came out, even though I hadn't seen it yet.

Now, I'm sure there's something highly metaphorical in that, but that's not what I'm after. What I'm wondering is how it works. This is by no means the first time that's happened to me, that I felt gloomy to match the weather, and as soon as the sun comes out, the gloom dissipates right along with the clouds. Oh yes, I'm fully aware of the benefits of sunlight on moods - I've even got one of those bright-light lamps that help you survive the dark months here on the 50th Parallel. But with those lamps, the light has to shine on your eyes - in other words, you have to see it for it to help. To treat SAD, they recommend going for a walk outside every day, and don't you dare wear sunglasses. So how can the sun coming out during my nap, when I've got my eyes closed in a room facing away from direct sunlight, have that same effect?

I figure I must be some sort of human barometer. Don't you think that's feasible? I mean, if those air pressure systems have the power to move around massive quantities of water in the sky (incognito under the name of "clouds"), they probably have some sort of influence on all that water that's sloshing around in my veins. Even my brain, I hear, is made up of about 75% H2O. Maybe with low air pressure, it's all pushed to the sides of the skull, and those little critters that live inside my head and are supposed to make me feel happy get really thirsty. Or something. Oh, fine, call them neurotransmitters if you wish- but I think there's probably a whole lot more about the human body that we don't know than that we know, so who knows, there could be some happy-brain-critters that we just haven't found out about yet.

Oh, and I did go for a walk, outside, without sunglasses, after that nap. I couldn't resist. And you know what? The crocuses are blooming.

Life, the Universe, and Human Barometers. May your happy-brain-critters stay well hydrated.


  1. It was sad to wake up to that. Glad you got some extra rest and gave yourself permission to have a nap.

    I always notice how much better I feel on a sunny day at this time of year and my oldest is really noticing it too -he says he can get so much more work done and focus better when the weather is good. I just think of myself as "solar powered". ;-) Actually I love watching plants that turn to face/follow the sun and I always feel a real connection with them.

  2. Solar powered- I like that. :) The funny thing is that I never used to be that way; I used to love winter and wasn't bothered at all by clouds and gloomy light- but in the last few years, that's changed drastically. I must have had a switch from convential power sources to solar, somewhere in there.

  3. I love the happy ending. It's funny, because the weather often affects my mood. But like you, after a walk, I feel much better.

  4. Yes, I think there are a lot of things that affect us that we have no clue about. Stealth health effects. Hope the weather's being nice to you in the UK these days!