Have you ever wondered why watching snow fall is so enjoyable and relaxing? We asked a psychologist to explain.
It’s no secret that British people love talking about the weather, but there’s something about the snow which takes our meteorological obsession to a whole other level.
From Instagram stories of snow-covered gardens to news reporters stood on snowy roads, it’s all anyone can talk about as soon as the first flakes begin to settle. And while snow certainly has the power to bring out our inner-child, there’s something to be said for simply watching the snow fall.
If you spent your evening peeking outside the curtains last night, you’ll know what we’re talking about.No matter how many times you’ve seen it snow, there’s something truly soothing about watching the white flakes fall from the sky, even during the lightest of flurries. But why is this?
According to chartered psychologist Catherine Hallissey, the answer lies in the way our brains work. “As long as we are wrapped up warm and safe, watching snow falling is incredibly soothing,” she says.
“Snow falling causes us to slow down, offering us the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature; watching the snow fall slowly to the ground inspires a sense of wonder.”
This sense of wonder may seem intangible, but it’s more powerful than you think. In fact, research has shown that experiencing ‘awe’ – a feeling akin to wonder or surprise – can help us to feel a sense of timeliness and be more mindful, which in turn can reduce feelings such as stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression.
On a similar note, snow’s ability to absorb sound and obscure the world around us also plays an important role in its soothing nature. As the snow falls, Hallissey explains, we’re able to live more in the moment and be present to our surroundings – and again, this helps to evoke a sense of calm and serenity.
The fact that snow is so rare in the UK – and tends to disappear pretty quickly after it’s fallen – also contributes to how mesmerising it is to watch. “The fleeting nature of snow means that we’re more likely to appreciate it,” Hallissey explains.
“The changing view, the changes in our routine and behaviour and the excitement and anticipation – combined with how it evokes memories of childhood – all combine to make it psychologically stimulating.”
So, there you have it. While it may feel weird to be so obsessed with something you’ve watched a hundred times before, there’s a reason why you’re so enamoured by the falling flakes.
It may feel like you have to head outside and ‘make the most’ of the snow in order to reap the benefits, but it’s clear that simply sitting inside or strolling in the snow can be beneficial in its own right – and leaning in to that is a great way to give yourself the breather you no doubt deserve.
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