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Feeling blue on a rainy day? You are not alone

Posted May 17, 2018 2:55 p.m. EDT

ATLANTA -- If this stretch of rain, rain and more rain is bringing you down -- it's not just you.

Rainy days can make people more susceptible to feeling blue, even lonely, experts say.

But rain falling from the sky doesn't have to be a downer.

John Grohol, founder and CEO of Psych Central, an online resource run by mental health professionals, has reviewed various studies on weather and mood. And while many suggest a correlation, the weather's impact on our mood may not be as great as we sometimes believe it to be, he said.

A 2011 Dutch study of 415 adolescents found that half weren't really impacted much at all by changes in the weather, while the other half were, he said. Whether people in the study were impacted by weather can depend on a person's weather personality type. In the study, 9 percent described themselves as "rain haters" -- angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation.

In other words, some people are averse to rain, while others take it in stride. Then again, some people are more sensitive to weather changes, and not just rain, but extreme heat or cold.

If the rains force you to be cooped inside, Grohol, based in Massachusetts, suggests engaging in activities that make you feel joy, such as watching an upbeat movie, playing a board game, or reading a book.

"People need to try and keep in mind weather is variable and whatever the weather might be right now or even the whole week, this is a short period of time all things considered," he said. "It's good to try and keep things in perspective."

If you want to look on the bright side, the rain is helping keep pollen levels down. Pollen in Atlanta fell from a high 108 particles per cubic meter of air Tuesday to a moderate 41 Wednesday, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The rain is also good for air quality. There have been multiple Code Orange smog alerts this month. A Code Orange alert means people with respiratory issues, older adults and children are at greater risk from exposure to the ozone.

Sure, you might have gotten soaked on Wednesday, but the color alert scale was green, signifying the air is clean.

Whitney Owens, a licensed professional counselor in Savannah, Georgia, at Water's Edge Counseling, said a spell of rain can be a good excuse to slow down.

"I would use the rain as an opportunity to kick back and rest and stop being so busy," she said. "Use it as an opportunity to not go anywhere and just be home. Do arts and crafts, make a home-cooked meal, spend time with friends and family, take naps."

Helena Oliviero writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Email: holiviero(at)ajc.com.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service