LIFESTYLE

Sunny Days And Blue Skies May Not Make Us Happier, Suggests New Wellbeing Study

02/04/2015 11:53 BST | Updated 02/04/2015 11:59 BST

It's official: more sunshine won't make you happier. Or that's what new research suggests anyway.

A study presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2015 annual conference has dispelled the popular notion that weather impacts our mood and health - which is just as well really, because right now the weather sucks.

sunshine

The study, by Dr Franz Buscha from the University of Westminster, examined the relationship between weather and measures of wellbeing using UK data spanning nearly 20 years.

Looking at whether dismal weather conditions affect wellbeing, Dr Buscha found that there was no "causal relationship" between daily weather patterns and self-reported wellbeing.

His research did, however, find that there's a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and sunshine, which suggests that people are less happy with their jobs on sunny days.

Although, he admits, this effect remains small.

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There was also significant evidence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) whereby individuals become markedly less happy during winter periods.

"The commonly believed notion that good weather puts people in better moods is not supported by my research," revealed Dr Buscha. "Indeed, the UK population seems relatively resilient at dealing with daily and short-run weather fluctuations.

"Extrapolating these results suggests that the increase in extreme type weather events, such as higher global temperatures or more rain, are unlikely to affect the wellbeing of the UK population directly."

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Global Wellbeing Poll

He added: "But it is possible that extreme weather events will indirectly affect measures of wellbeing via droughts, floods or other personal life events. This as an important avenue for future research."

The study used data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which provides access to approximately 150,000 observations of 10,000 UK households over the period 1991 to 2008.

The results suggested that the effect of temperature, sunshine, wind speed and rain over a one-day period, three-day period and five-day period have very little effect on individual measures of wellbeing.

We're a hardy bunch, us Brits. But a bit more sunshine wouldn't go amiss, right?

[H/T Telegraph]