On Wednesday 31 January 2018 we are expecting a Super Blue Blood Moon. This is when a Blue Moon, Supermoon and total lunar eclipse coincide, something not seen in 150 years: according to NASA, the last time these three elements combined was in 1966.
This will be the last in the ‘Supermoon Trilogy’ which began in early December, and will be the second Supermoon to be seen this month (the first was on 1 January). A Blue Moon happens when there are two full moons in the same calendar month, and a Supermoon happens when a full moon is in it’s closest approach to the Earth in a single orbit.
This Supermoon will take place on 30 January and willreach it’s peak on 31 January, when it will be 223,068 miles from Earth instead of it’s average 238,855 miles, according to NASA. The best time to see it will be at 2am on Thursday 1 February – but if you don’t fancy waiting up until then NASA will be live streaming from 10.30 GMT on 31 January. And unfortunately in the UK we won’t be able to see the lunar eclipse from where we are.
So does the Supermoon affect our psychology?
Since Roman times, humans have associated full moons with erratic and strange behaviour – the word ‘lunacy’ derives from ‘lunar’ (meaning: of, determined by or resembling the moon), which comes from the Roman Goddess of the Moon, Luna – but there is no scientific evidence that we are affected by the phases of the moon.
‘Gravitational hypothesis’ suggests that as humans are made up of between 55-60% water, we may be subject to a gravitational pull similar to the moon’s effect on the oceans. However, as the maximum effect on tidal movement is just a 10cm increase, the effect over an average human of around 2m height is negligible.
More plausible is the theory that the brightness of a full moon may affect our sleep in both quantity and quality, which could lead to bad moods or erratic behaviours. Studies show on average people sleep 19 minutes less during a normal full moon – if a Supermoon is 1/3 brighter than a typical full moon you might imagine that people will experience even more sleep disturbance. However if you take into account our modern society, any disturbance is minimal given the amount of light pollution many people experience in towns and cities, the blue light emitted by mobile phones and ipads/tablets, and the number of devices on standby which emit light.
So why does it feel like there are more incidents of road rage or odd behaviour when there is a full moon? Rather like the myths behind unlucky Friday 13th, we are more aware of things relating to our behaviour on these particular days. There is ‘confirmation bias’, when the moon is full we’re looking for strange behaviours or remember when we see something unusual and associate it with that particular day, rather than seeing it as a single event.
In fact there is as much strange behaviour on any given night as there is on a full moon – but perhaps allow for a small level of mood swing, more to do with staying up late the night before to see the Supermoon than for any other reason.
Many people who feel anxious or stressed may feel their symptoms are exacerbated by large events, such as those Fridays 13th’s, Supermoons, country-wide bad weather, and even supposedly happy events like Christmas and Easter. These collective experiences may serve to highlight your own situation, spotlighting bad feelings or making you feel out of kilter with the rest of the world.
If you would like help managing your anxiety or coping with stress, please do get in touch. Hypnotherapy is a gentle but effective way of managing your thoughts for a happier life: firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 01798 344879