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      Don't let weather dictate your mood

      Alex Cooke

      Issue date: 4/10/09 Section: Opinion
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      Did you enjoy the weather last week? Spend a little extra time outside? Maybe even put away the winter gear? Sucker. Did you forget already that April is the great battle month, where winter and spring engage in an epic tug-of-war for the rights to Cleveland's climate? The less-than-fortunate events of this week probably reminded you. But hey, you can revel in the novelty of lake-effect snow! There are only a few other places in the world where this meteorological phenomenon occurs. Still pissed? OK, let's talk. Why do we get so upset at the weather?

      The weather in Cleveland is like a bad clown: colorful, a bit ridiculous, and not the least bit funny. The difference is that most of us shrug off the clown, while I see people whose entire days are ruined by snow, cold, or humidity. Couple that with the number of days that can be characterized by those descriptions and you have a lot of upset people a lot of the time. And really, for what? Is it because your hair is frizzy on those hot, humid days? Or maybe because your digits start throbbing when the mercury dives below zero? (OK, I'll admit that is definitely unpleasant.) Or is it something a little less superficial? Does the weather make us depressed? The answer is yes, in some cases. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a well-documented and validated condition. However, I'm going to venture a guess that many of us are under diagnostic levels and somewhere more near the realm of general grumpiness. Maybe our already tired patience is simply outpaced by the weather. Maybe the weather plays a large role in our lives.

      If the weather does play a large role in our lives, what makes it large? If you work outside regularly, or play an outdoor sport of some sort, certainly you are dependent on weather conditions and should therefore be upset if the quality is constantly lacking. However, the majority of us here venture into the elements for a minimal amount of time. (For the record, the 15-minute walk to class is not the epic showdown between you and Mother Nature that some people make it out to be.) Really, we could pare down our outdoor time to a half hour per day if we wanted to. And yet we let the Cleveland climate affect us drastically. For what? Who cares? Why let something as trivial and uncontrollable as the weather shape our mood? If there's a tornado, call me. Otherwise, I'll get over the frizzy hair, the extra coat, and the tropical humidity.

      The point is, I don't understand why we get so upset. University buildings have heat, air conditioning, and last I checked, roofs. So go indoors, make your hot chocolate, or eat your Popsicle and focus on the bigger things. You know, that cute girl from class, when the network will be back up, your SAGES paper…that sort of thing.

      Alex Cooke is a senior math and psychology major with plans to go to graduate school and eventually join the FBI. He enjoys spending time with his horse and songwriting. Cooke can be reached at .
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        George Patsourakos

        posted 4/11/09 @ 5:02 PM EST

        I agree with the Case Western Reserve writer that we should not let the weather have an impact on our daily activities. Nonetheless, thousands of Americans become depressed and suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) each winter, because of the cold, gloomy, short days. (Continued…)

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