Spring a time for better moods


Student relaxing on a bench outside of the William T. Young library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Photo by Josh Mott | Staff.

Abby Eaton

Look across campus during the warmer months, students might have more of a pep in their step and larger smiles on their faces. People being happier in the spring time isn’t just an idea, but it can actually be seen in several different aspects of psychology.

“It’s almost common sense and I think its almost something we can directly observe. As the weather gets warmer and its sunnier out people are inclined to do more things out and about, which might naturally boost happiness because people feel more social,” said Rachel Farr, assistant professor of psychology.

There are several biological reasons behind this idea, including sleep and melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is used to help control the body’s sleep and wake cycles, and in the darker winter months, your body produces more of it. This in turn makes you feel sleepier.

In the winter months, humans are less lively because of this reason. Several studies have also proven that it can lead to weight gain.

“As we hit the warmer months where there is more light, we have day light savings time and that gives us more daylight hours and our body produces less melatonin, so we feel more lively,” Farr said.

She also said this can lead to people being more willing to go outside and enjoy various activities that the warmer months have to offer.

In addition to the body producing melatonin, the serotonin levels in your body also play a role in your mood. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that boosts your mood, and as daylight lengthens and temperature warms, the levels in your body increase.

While some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression that is based off of the changes in seasons and heavily experienced in the fall and winter months, colder weather is not the only cause.

“It’s not necessarily the cold and the dark that leads to a depressed mood, it’s sort of more that light and warmth benefit us in positive ways. I think that is important to keep in mind. Winter doesn’t necessarily have to translate to a depressed mood,” Farr said.

She said that during these winter months, if people are able to sit in the sun or enjoy the sun in the comfort of their homes, people will benefit from that.

Students across campus have noticed the changes in themselves since the weather has changed.

“I’ve noticed a little bit of a difference. I’ve realized that I do tend to be happier when the sun is out,” psychology freshman Kristen Shannon said.