Whether you are just going into the summer months or are in the very height of heat during the year, you may have noticed that people tend to be a little more on edge during this time. Maybe you’ve been a bit short-tempered with your family or friends, or you’ve noticed others snapping for seemingly no reason.
Well, it turns out that hot temperatures do actually affect our moods more than we may think.
How High Temperatures Affect Us Mentally
When it is hot outside, many of us find it more difficult to sleep well, stay hydrated, and live our lives how we usually would when we’re not trying to actively avoid the searing heat in the middle of the day.
These restrictions can make anyone a bit more irritated, and as a whole, most of us tend to have a shorter fuse in the summer months because of this. The more uncomfortable we become, the more challenging it is for us to manage our emotions. So, if you constantly sweat and feel like you cannot get enough water in your body, it is no surprise that you’re going to be a little testy. As our bodies try to adapt to the higher temperatures, we are taking energy away from emotion regulation, and this is why we can seem a bit more hot-headed in these seasons.
More scientifically, our brains perceive hot temperatures as a threat to our safety. This is understandable as when it is hotter outside, we are more prone to heat strokes and dehydration. But, this means that our bodies can tend to activate our “fight or flight” responses which can cloud our ability to remain calm.
How to Manage Anger When It Is Hot
It is completely natural to feel irritated or otherwise on-edge during the warmer seasons. As mentioned above, being uncomfortable can affect how we see the world around us and how we express ourselves.
But, no one wants to feel upset all the time, especially when it happens every year during the summer season. So, we have gathered a few tips here to help you cope with this increased level of irritation in the heat.
Pay Attention to Your Body
See if you can notice what signs you feel when you first start getting angry. Does your pulse speed up? Do you feel tension in your shoulders or neck? Do you feel lightheaded or dizzy? Is it harder to breathe?
These are all physical signs of anger that happen naturally. If you can notice these signs, you may be able to consciously make an effort to relax and ease some of the irritation you are feeling.
Taking care of your body during the warmer months is also extremely important. When it is hot, it is much easier to become dehydrated, and our risk for heat stroke also increases. So, ensure that you are getting enough water, rest, and food, and try to stay out of the sun in the middle of the day — this is when it is hottest.
Reign in Assumptions
A lot of arguments stem from misunderstandings. When we assume something is the case, we can become more short-tempered than if we go into a situation with an open mind. It is, of course, much harder to avoid making assumptions when you are hot and uncomfortable, but making an effort to do so can make all the difference.
Rather than assuming you know what is going on at any given moment — especially if you are feeling angry — simply ask yourself if you know for sure. If you don’t, ask.
Look Before You Leap
Think before you speak. If you’re feeling irritated in the heat, the people around you are likely feeling the same way. To avoid sparking a conflict where it can be avoided, try to choose your words a little more carefully than you usually would in tense situations. Take time to calm yourself down if you are upset and speak after you have calmed down.
As mentioned before, one physical sign of anger is difficulty breathing. Taking the time and effort to breathe can help you lessen any anger you may be feeling.
Determine Contributing Factors
Sometimes we blow up at seemingly minor issues because something is happening behind the scenes. If you find yourself getting angry over something small, take a moment to reflect on yourself.
Are you tired? Hungry? Stressed? In pain? Anxious?
Know What You Can Control
The truth of life is that we cannot control everything. You can’t control what other people think, say, or do. You can’t control the temperature of the world.
All you can control is your own actions, thoughts, and reactions to situations.
Look for Alternative Ways to Express Your Feelings
You can try to look for a more productive way to channel your energy — such as physical activity, creating art, or writing.
What will work best for you is going to be dependent on you. Some people may find writing in a journal very therapeutic, while others may find it just makes them stew in their emotions. Find an activity that works for you to release those feelings positively.
Seek Out a Professional
If you have tried these tips and they do not seem to be doing it for you, or you would like more help on how to best implement them, it may be a good idea to reach out to a professional therapist or counselor.
Therapists are trained to help people to cope and process their emotions, so they can be an excellent resource for you if you find yourself overcome with irritation every time it gets hot out. For more information on what you can do to cope with feelings of bitterness and anger, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow.