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by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw


How Much Do You Understand Yourself?

Psychologists have long known about the effect that our immediate surroundings can have on our mood. Norbert Schwarz showed how dull weather could make your whole life look bad. On a sunny day it just looks so much better. What he also showed was that once you become aware of the effect it vanishes!
Being aware of the surrounding influences on one's mood then, is important because the effect can be really strong. And it's not just the weather that can affect how you feel - feeling hungry because you skipped breakfast, or didn't have time to have lunch, can make you feel downright irritable as well as mournful. Even colour can have a noticeable affect on mood, altering it from upbeat to downbeat in a fairly short time.
There is a small problem however - whilst Professor Schwarz did show that being aware of the effect would diminish it's influence on our mood - we just seem to keep forgetting . Instead we tend to dismiss this influence and blame our moods either on ourselves or on others.

So when you're feeling down, look around you and think of all the influences that may be affecting your mood. Did you skip breakfast? What's the weather doing? Just can't stand that wallpaper!
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