Weather and moods

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 22:46 -- webmaster

Two days ago I had a gloriously productive day (compared to recent history anyway). I went for a jog, made a great breakfast, and got a lot of work done. But yesterday sucked. It started out OK with another good jog and a nice breakfast, but the rest of the day I was unable to get into gear. Pretty much the entire day was a waste and I was certainly more irritable.

I've had pretty severe problems with concentrating and focusing for a few years now. One of the main sources, I've been theorizing, is the over-socialized life I've been living. For years now I've been mostly living in houses or apartments that have multiple people living there, sharing space with people I do consider friends but am not all that close to. As an introvert, this is stressful: I need my quiet alone time, and probably more than most.

To me a good start to the day is one where I don't have to hear or see another human until I've had my morning caffeine, done some exercise, had breakfast, and showered. A good evening is one where I don't have to hear or see anyone for about an hour before going to bed. A good day has maybe two hours of total interaction time. I do need some social time, but much less than the average person.

So the big theory is that I've been needing a much larger part of my day to just be alone, and that if I can get it for a long enough period of time then I can rebuild my ability to do mental work back to something more normal. I have noticed, on the few occasions in the last year or so that I've had quiet time, that it can take a couple hours of calming down before I can get focused enough to do mental work. Any interruptions, or even the possibility of interruption, can cause me to drop back into the nervous state.

One of the curious symptoms associated with this has been that if I hear the voice of someone I know, that immediately steals all my focus and directs it towards that voice. It makes it infuriatingly difficult to be in a room where there's two conversations going on at the same time - my brain can't figure out which conversation to focus on but tries to focus on both simultaneously, which ends up in my not being able to listen to either. That makes it even more stressful to be around groups of people.

However, the last couple days being so different has made me considering the effect of other factors. Yes, on Wednesday my focus and concentration got interrupted and my productivity was somewhat reduced by that. But I was interrupted about the same amount on Thursday and it turned out much worse. I ate very similar meals and had approximately the same level of physical activity, but the weather was different. Wednesday, after a slight drizzle in the morning, was a nice day; but Thursday was rainy. I've noticed before that declining air pressure associated with storm systems can affect my mood, but this seems to indicate that its a little more than just that.

So in addition to the lowered amount of B-12 in my system, the weather can also affect me to some extent. I'd bet neither factor is all that big, but with all the stress I've been under lately their impact is probably being magnified. In any event, I'll be more closely watching the weather report to see if the weather correlation holds up.

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