Rainy Day Phenomenon

rainy day

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. ~Dolly Parton

There seems to be two sides of the opinion on what a “rainy day” means. One side perceives it as a blessing, one that brings harvest and growth. The other side perceive is as melancholic and dreary.

I have been witnessing the later, lately, when rain finally hit my area of Stockton after a long drought of a fall and winter. Even while it was much needed hydration, I saw a stark decline in the moods of those I worked with and were social media friends with.

Another noticed phenomenon comes from having worked in the food industry. I have worked in multiple restaurants, in multiple cities, and without fail people flood in for their serviced meals, often bringing business to volume.

How do you perceive rain? How do you subconsciously react to rainy days? Do you ever find yourself with the blues on a rainy day, and not quite understand why?

Penny for your Thoughts and observations?

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2 thoughts on “Rainy Day Phenomenon

  1. Here’s something I wrote about rain from one of my book if you’re interested. It’s a little long for a comment, but if you want a bit of a read, maybe you’ll enjoy it :):

    Rain! I think we can all agree that rain is probably the most beautiful naturally occurring sound. The smell in the air before a rainstorm is electric and one of anticipation as the sky turns cloudy and gets a little darker. It is ingrained in our blood as a survival mechanism from when we needed to be able to predict when it’s about to rain.

    That specific “rain smell” is from the odor dubbed petrichor by its Australian scientific discoverers, which is created by a chemical reaction after the oils from plants make their way into the air in anticipation of rain after a dry spell and then combine with the chemicals soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes release.

    Ozone is also associated with the smell before a storm and is carried by the wind before a storm hits to give rain that telltale smell. Created by distant lightning splitting oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they reform into nitric oxide, which interacts with other molecules to form ozone and faintly smells a little sharp like chlorine.

    The sound of rain itself is nature’s white noise. White noise aids concentration by having distinctly lacking characteristics, I.e., it could be any ambient noise. Its effect is to give back concentration by not having to allocate cognition to individual sounds.

    Rain aids memory. In the same way listening to music with lyrics and reading at the same time detracts from performance, drowning out ambient attention-sapping noise with featureless white noise will increase information retention.

    Likewise, even the decibels of sound affect performance and in general, a quiet environment is best for concentration. Considering rain isn’t a loud, abrasive sound like pretty much any song on the radio, it’s loud enough to wash away distractions without being a distraction itself.

    The sound of rain doesn’t just increase memory, but is an auditory stimulant. Auditory stimulation approaches a threshold that stimulates the core task being completed before over-stimulation occurs and performance benefits decline. Once again, rain is nicely balanced and will provide that gentle push to get the job done but not so much that the stimuli detracts from what you are doing.

    There is also the theory that intermittent sound is distracting in that the processing starts and stops and anxiety is produced with the anticipation of the next sound. This effect has been well documented by playing around with metronomes. Participants noted a sense of building and anxiety in between clicks and relief when the click finally sounded. This up-and-down swinging of emotions would no doubt be distracting, which is why the continuous sound of rain is so relaxing.

    My theory is that we associate rain with decreased evolutionary threat when we were once susceptible to animal attack. Storms spook animals into taking shelter. The feeling of comfort from not being a target and the relief from not being in the storm itself. This all contrasts from the safety within a cave and is probably hard wired to feel good.

    Rain also would have once been a lifeline before the days of indoor plumbing and dams. For prehistoric man, rain provided a fresh supply of basic drinking water and perhaps a bit of fun in nature’s shower.

    Rain can also make people a little frazzled. Ever notice how people get a bit crazy when it rains? This is best seen by observing children. They get so excited that they scream. Paradoxically, we can all agree that there’s nothing like the quality of sleep that can only occur from a heavy rain storm.

    Having thoroughly documented the health benefits, let’s just agree that it’s a fantastic sound. It brings us closer to nature from within the safety of our artificial boxes. The sound of flowing water washes away our troubles, hydrates our plants with nutrients they need to be healthy, reduces stress, drowns out horrible, distracting sounds; aids sleep, improves memory, concentration and learning; but most of all, it just sounds absolutely beautiful. Life is full of the small things that really just make it worth living.

  2. I tried to upload a picture, but it doesn’t let me. Lol I see there is an extra option that needs to be done. Anyways, the pic I had says “everyone wants happiness, but no one wants pain. But you can’t make a rainbow without a little rain” 😉

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