The psychology of snow days

Noel Bell

Noel Bell

UKCP psychotherapist Noel Bell is a UKCP psychotherapist, blogger and podcaster with extensive experience in the mental health field. He has spent the past 20 years exploring personal growth and inner transformation.

Why does snow often boost our mood and give us a nostalgic childlike feeling?  

People often cite peacefulness for why they are so happy when it snows. Science may provide answers since snow is a wonderful insulator. City noise may indeed be less busy on snowy days, but more pertinently, a blanket of snow can actually make everything quieter. The regular city sounds of people, traffic and construction sites get absorbed, which can make the world seem more peaceful, serene and quiet.  

We might not be aware of it, but falling snow can make a very subtle sound that might echo a white noise machine. According to a study by the University of Sussex, the sounds of nature stimulate more activity in the parts of our brain responsible for rest and relaxation. 

Snowfall may present an opportunity for us to play outdoors like children. In this way, snow can help us to release our inhibitions. Since snow is usually only around for a limited period of time, we might feel compelled to enjoy the moment and become more mindful as a result. When we spend more time in nature, we feel greater vitality and improved resilience and better physical health. This helps boost our sense of mental and emotional wellbeing.  


What are the mental health benefits of tapping into our inner child? 

Having a childlike wonderment benefits our mental health as it helps restrict the damaging effects of stress on our emotional wellbeing. Snowfall gives us a sense of things slowing down. This can be a useful pause button when we might be stressed dealing with the busy pace of our lives. The workday might get slower and we could have an opportunity to take stock of what is happening in our lives. 

Children tend to live more in the moment and are less concerned with productivity and material possessions. They can play more and lose themselves in enjoyment. Opportunities to play and create greater connection with others boost our mental health. Snow as a weather event can stimulate conversations between strangers and potentially increase a sense of community. It may represent a welcome break from the standard routine and could offer an opportunity to do things differently.  

Focusing more on the world around us can also boost our mental health as we become less self-centred and more interested in our community.  

We might also be reminded of this insightful quote: 

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ – Pablo Picasso 


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