Is there a physiological basis for the different reactions people have to cold weather?

When it gets cold and I walk outside, breathing in the cold air feels almost ecstatically good. I get a high, feeling ridiculously happy thoughts about how now I can do anything. That kind of thing. My lungs feel like suddenly they’re alive. You get the idea.

Meanwhile, my wife, when it gets cold, feels it as a torturous pain. She can barely stand to even step outside. No matter how many layers she’s wearing, the simple necessity to breathe does her in.

It’s clear that different people have different tolerances. But it seems to me that when it comes to cold air, people have reactions that are different in kind rather than degree. It’s not just that I can tolerate cold more than her–I have an entirely different reaction to cold. Even if it’s sub-zero outside, for the first few minutes I really love the way it feels. It’s not just that it bothers me less–I positively enjoy it.

Do you know if anyone has looked into this? Is there something physiologically different between cold-lovers and cold-haters? Or is it somehow just psychological or psychosomatic?

(We have similar but opposite reactions to hot air…)

I have low blood pressure. That makes me feel the cold a lot more than others.

But, I’ll live longer because I’m not stressing my circulatory system. :smiley: