Winter Wonderlands: The Psychology of Snow


Weather Report

You wake up groggily to your alarm ringing at 6:30 AM and realize it’s the start of another routine in the daily grind. It’s been quite cold outside, and since yesterday, you’ve been hoping for at least one day off of work or school just for a bit of rest and a day off. After taking your shower and heading downstairs, the local news report announces that a snowstorm has arrived. Your boss or school contacts you shortly after and says work or class has been suspended. You happily change back to your PJs and fall back to sleep.

The Excitement of a Snow Storm

Some time ago, in 2017, a winter storm named Jonas had swept Tennessee to New York, with people creating Jonas-brothers memes about the storm and expecting heavy snowfall in some regions. Why were people so excited about a major snowfall, even with the adverse side effects that go along with them, such as property and death-related issues?

According to clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D., snowstorms bring out a mixture of feelings such as fear, stimulation, power, and even beauty. He also went to explain that natural phenomena that are beyond our control also stimulates us in a psychologically unique way. Erika Martinez, Psy.D., another clinical psychologist, explains that snowstorms bring people back to childhood, where they experience the joy of not going to school, in the same way that adults can’t make it work due to snowy conditions.

Snowfalls and snowstorms also break our daily routines. Never mind about that thick snow in your backyard, you don’t have work or classes anyways; renting some light excavation equipment from Wheelercat or A-A-Ron’s Equipment Rentals shouldn’t be too hard. Aside from the snow obstructions, you may have to suddenly stock up on food by running to your local WalMart or Target for an extra dozen of eggs and comfort food to keep you company during the snowstorm while cozying up to a warm couch.

Even if snowstorms cause damage along with a host of other adverse effects, people tend to gloss over them because of the initial excitement they feel from the break-in routine. It’s all about instant gratification, where people focus on the here and now and focus little on the consequences.

The Psychology of a Snow Storm

impending snow storm

As mentioned earlier, snowstorms allow for a break in routine and give us a chance to escape to-do lists and responsibilities as well as our daily tasks and responsibilities. The snowy weather also provides us with an opportunity to take a break without excuses because we cannot control mother nature. People, both at home and at work, understand why people cannot go to school or work because things like these are uncontrollable and aren’t our fault.

While some people may find boredom in snowy days, people might still need them because it is a break that comes from factors beyond our control. People work longer hours in the office and also work at home, doing chores and errands to get by. We may or may not like our work and going to school. So waiting for another snowstorm may be something people expect to feel the highs of breaking the routine and gearing up for some rest and contentment.

Even with the highs that come along the snowstorm, the lows will start to creep in once the snow melts, and the pressures of daily life start rearing in its head again. Sometimes, we can expect another weather report and hope for the best, but in reality, we can stop praying for snowstorms and start making our changes in routines and mix things up a little.

Snowstorm or not, we need moments of rest and contentment and recognize that we all need breaks. Even though we may feel the world may be falling apart in our absences, we know that things will fall into place once again.

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