Feel bad on cloudy days

Cloudy Days: Do They Make You Sad?

Do you feel euphoric when the sun is shining? And are you depressed and down when the weather is rainy and the sky is cloudy? In today's article, we'll tell you why this is happening.

Last update: 01 October, 2020

Are you one of those people who feel every change in the weather? To lead cloudy days to the fact that your mood is depressed? You don't have to worry, because you're not alone with that. Many people feel sad on gray and cloudy days. And there is both a biological and a psychological explanation for this phenomenon.

Not everyone experiences these weather-related mood swings. There are definitely people who are rainy or cloudy days and really enjoy lower temperatures and the lifestyle that goes with it. Indeed there are also people for whom the autumn and winter months present significant emotional challenges.

Why do cloudy days make you sad?


From a biological point of view, the first thing to remember is that the body works according to circadian rhythms that regulate your sleep cycles. You could say that the body synchronizes itself every day based on the sunlight it receives.

More light is the signal for your body that a new day is about to begin. In contrast, decreasing light ensures that your body is preparing for the end of the day and the recovery phase. In addition, two important substances play a major role in this process:

  • Melatonin is present in your body in different concentrations. The level of concentration depends on how much or how little daylight your body gets. When it gets dark outside, your body releases more melatonin, causing you to relax and get tired. Your body temperature drops and your organism prepares for sleep. Gray, cloudy days with little sunlight trigger the same process. Therefore, you feel apathetic and listless in those days. Because your body is preparing for sleep.
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter also known as the happiness hormone. It makes you more active, improves your mood and increases your need for social contact. In addition, it will help you reduce the number of negative thoughts you may have. However, a lack of sunlight causes your serotonin levels to drop significantly. As a result, you feel sad, nostalgic, and sentimental more often on cloudy days.


Even so, these chemical changes in your body aren't directly responsible for making you feel sad or depressed on rainy and cloudy days. In fact, these mood changes are also related to the cognitive and behavioral changes on those days. In other words, your thoughts and behavior reinforce the sadness and apathy you experience.

People who experience mood swings due to weather conditions tend to look inward on cloudy, cold, and rainy days. They are less active, withdrawing, and focusing more on dysfunctional thought patterns. This means that they limit their social contacts considerably and their internal dialogue becomes more pessimistic.

Seasonal depression

People who suffer from seasonal depression experience the typical symptoms of a depressive disorder to some extent during the fall and winter months. Fortunately, these symptoms go away in spring and summer.

During the darkest and grayest months of the year, when cloudy and cloudy days are particularly frequent, those affected feel sad and listless, suffer from insomnia and changes in appetite. In addition, people suffering from winter depression are pessimistic about their future and feel hopeless. They may also be more irritable and feel more guilty.

A common treatment for seasonal depression is phototherapy. In phototherapy, the person affected is exposed to bright, artificial light for a certain time of the day in order to minimize the effects of the lack of sunlight. Although this therapy works for some people, it does not lead to the desired result in all of those affected.

What can you do when cloudy days make you sad?

Since you cannot change the weather, you must instead focus on the cognitive and behavioral factors that you can control. If you find yourself feeling sad and depressed on gray days, you should make a conscious effort not to fall into apathy and pessimism.

Instead, try to overcome your lethargy and get moving. Get active and do things that you enjoy, both inside and outside of your home. Organize a get-together with family and friends, or spend more time on a hobby that you have been neglecting for a while. In addition, you should also pay close attention to your thoughts and intervene if you notice that they are becoming increasingly negative. And if all of that doesn't help or you feel like you can't do it on your own, you should seek help.

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