How Summer Heat Affects Our Mood
The Weather Influences Our Mood
The weather can affect our mental health in more ways than we realize. We’re all aware of the winter doldrums, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During the winter, some people feel depressed and moody. Although thought to be caused by the lack of sun during colder seasons, SAD can also occur in the summertime.
It’s not hard to imagine how the summer heat can change our mood. Being sweaty and uncomfortable can make anyone cranky. Sitting in a hot car, doing yard work under the sun, and humid summer evenings can raise blood pressure and increase the chances of dehydration.
There’s research to indicate that the summer heat can influence our mood. A 2019 article published in the Psychiatric Times, emphasized the need for mental health professionals to be aware of a possible increase in anxiety and mood disorders as global warming raises planet temperatures. According to the article, one standard deviation of temperature increase can heighten feelings of stress and anger. The Psychiatric Times emphasized the need to increase awareness of the possibility of increased stress due to higher temperatures. Also, patients who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders may be vulnerable to temperature changes. A study published in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences found that patients with panic disorder may be more sensitive to the weather and other external factors than the general population.
Tips for Avoiding Summer Stress
The summer sun can increase feelings of anxiety. Fortunately, there are a few tips we can use to keep ourselves from submitting to summer stress!
Keep It Cool
It seems like a no brainer, but we can forget to cool off. The planet is warming, and the summer heat that we could tolerate fifteen years ago isn’t the same. Remember to stay in the shade, remain near a fan or in air conditioning, and consume cold food and beverages. Every little bit of temperature change helps, so small modifications can keep you from losing your cool.
The summer sun can wreak havoc on our hydration. Especially if you live in a dry area, you may not feel your perspiration on your skin. Even if you’re not visibly perspiring, water loss can still occur in dry heat. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Often, our body is already mildly dehydrated when its thirst mechanism kicks in. Even mild dehydration can cause mood changes and affect how well we think. Drink often and stay hydrated to avoid summer stress.
Pay Attention to Your Body’s Cues
Your body provides natural cues to indicate when it’s not managing the heat very well. Besides feeling thirsty and hot, physical signs of too much sun can be shortness of breath, nausea, and an increased heart rate. Some mental cues your body might have is irritability, tiredness, restlessness, or an increase in anxious thoughts. When you start to notice these signs, take the opportunity to find a cool, quiet space to relax and power down.
Managing Summer Stress
Anxiety and other emotions might rise in the heat, but you don’t have to let it ruin your summer fun. Making a conscious effort to cool off, avoid dehydration, and calm yourself can keep the anxiety at bay. CalmiGo can help you get through the summer stress. CalmiGo’s feedback lights and vibration breathing guide can help you become -- and remain -- anxiety-free. With CalmiGo, you can enjoy your summer without the stress.