Of course everyone loves a sunny day. But when mist, fog or rain are in the forecast, there's no need to hide indoors. There's so much quiet beauty to be found even when the skies aren't bright.
Most people tend to believe that the weather affects their mood. On a rainy day, they might find life a little more depressing, while sunshine tends to lift their spirits. Research supports this to some degree.
"More sunlight, higher temperatures, and higher barometric pressure have all been shown to be related to better moods," writes Theo A. Klimstra et al. in a 2011 study published in the journal Emotion. "However, most of these studies found small effects that only reached significance for some weather parameters, whereas other studies found no significant effects at all."
In this study, the researchers found that of the more than 800 people polled, about half weren't impacted at all by changes in the weather. Only 9 percent were classified as "rain haters" who were "angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation."
David Alter, marketing and psychology professor at NYU, says that we actually think more clearly on cloudy days.
"Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness," he writes in "Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave."
In his book, Alter cites a study where researchers left a handful of small items on the counter of a store and then asked exiting shoppers how many of them they could remember. On gloomy days, shopper were able to recall three times as many more items than they could on sunny days, according to Brain Pickings.
"Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad," he wrote. "In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully."
When the sun's rays hit the skin, our bodies make the critical nutrient vitamin D. Too much sun, of course, is damaging, but a few minutes gives you a good natural dose of the vitamin you need to stay healthy.
Just like you can get a sunburn even when the skies are overcast, your body can still make vitamin D on a cloudy day. So there's really no excuse to stay inside.
Whether it's the unique smell after a rainstorm, the crunch of snow in a quiet forest or the mysterious sights you spot in a fog, there's always something compelling in the quietness of a not-so-sunny day.
You just have to look and listen for it.