I got sunshine…

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
February 27, 2012, 12:40 PM GMT+0

Feel dull in a downpour or happy when the sun shines? Does snow make it feel like Christmas or just make commuting more frustrating? We asked panellists how weather affects their mood

Ever felt disheartened on a cloudy day, or does rain on the window excite you? Does snow inspire a childlike feeling, or simply make you feel cold and frustrated?

Nothing gets Brits talking more than the weather. Newspaper headlines are frequently dominated by excitable proclamations that ‘It’s going to be a scorcher!’ or contrastingly, doom and gloom splash across the page at the first hint of snow.

This week we invited you to consider different kinds of weather and tell us a few words that describe how they make you feel.

Have a browse over what our participants had to say about different types of weather and see if you agree – how much does Britain’s weather affect how we feel about ourselves?


Perhaps predictably, few of the panellists who took part had anything special to say about a cloudy day, although some said that it was 'normal', and they felt 'indifferent'. A few others said 'okay', but by and large, this type of weather is likely to make you feel gloomy, with some saying that they feel 'fed-up' and 'headachy'. Only a very small amount said cloudy weather brought out their happy side.


This was more of a mixed bag, but as the wordcloud shows, most feel far more optimistic when the sun shines. With the majority of panellists taking part simply saying that sunshine makes them feel 'happy', others pointed out how being too hot can get 'tiring', and make people 'irritable' and 'lethargic'. Others, however, said that it makes them feel 'alive' and 'content'.


That particularly British affliction halfway between drizzle and full-blown rain, spitting again brought out many panellists' dreary side. However, while a few said this was 'okay', some actually pointed out the positives, saying this made them feel 'hopeful' and even 'refreshed'.


No messing around here: proper rain simply makes these panellists feel miserable, depressed and wet - and, in addition to the other types of rain asked about, pouring rain makes a sizeable number actively 'annoyed'. But it seems every cloud does indeed have a silver lining: some panellists said pouring rain makes them feel 'cosy' and 'relaxed', and a few said it left them 'invigorated'.


It might turn your umbrella upside down, but panellists were surprisingly positive about this potentially-damaging type of weather. While a preditable proportion denounced its 'cold' temperature and cited feeling 'annoyed' during a windy spell, significant numbers felt 'refreshed', 'fresh', 'energised' and 'invigorated'. This weather also unearthed some creativity, with descriptions such as 'buffeted', 'battered', 'ruffled' and 'breathless' coming to the fore.


Trains may fail and cars may slide, but many of the panellists who took this poll confessed to feeling 'happy and excited' when snow settles on the ground. It brought out the 'childlike' feelings in you, with 'Christmassy', 'cosy' and 'peaceful' among the most popular adjectives cited. However, others did say they felt 'concerned', 'anxious', 'apprehensive' and 'worried' when flakes fall, perhaps hinting at the havoc the weather can play with our plans.


This weather divided our panellits like no other on our list. While 'depressed', 'damp', 'cold' and 'anxious' leap out as common themes, many also feel 'spooky', 'mysterious' and 'interested.' However, a sense of feeling 'trapped' also emerged, with significant minorities also saying they feel 'enclosed', 'blind', 'confined', 'claustrophobic' and 'cautious' when visibility drops.


Despite sounding like a negative weather type, the panellists who took the poll responded overwhelmingly positively to this word, saying that bitter days made them felt 'energetic', 'refreshed', 'bright', 'invigorated' and 'cheerful'! In fact, while a few panellists simply said they feel 'okay' when a bitter day swings round, most reported words like 'alert', 'glad', 'uplifted', 'elated' and 'lively'! Long live bitter days, we say!