The heatwave in India has already got everyone worried. While the summer season gives us a chance to wear breezy and floral outfits, sip on cooling drinks and gorge on yummy fruits like mangoes, it is also about surviving the heat, sweat and infections. There are multiple heatwave side effects, but it turns out that even your mood gets affected by the heat. Anger is one emotion that can get charged up during summer. An expert shares what’s the connection between heat and anger.
To explore the link between anger and soaring temperature, Health Shots reached out to Dr Rishi Gautam, a US-based mental health expert and a specialist of psychiatry.
Heatwave side effects and mood changes
A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that days with high temperatures during summer months in the US were connected to increased rates of emergency department visits for mental health-related condition, including mood disorders. Dr Gautam says that excessively hot temperatures have been shown to alter baseline mood states, making people more irritable, conflictual, angry, and even depressed at times. While it is not clearly understood what all goes into causing this, it is theorised that changes in body temperature, dehydration, poor sleep, increased inflammation, and excessive exposure to bright sunlight can all affect your brain function.
How to handle anger during heatwave
There are a few things you can do to help yourself and calm down your nerves in the heatwave.
1. Identify changes in your mood or see if you feel more angry than usual
You might not always listen to what your family has to say about your mood or life in general. But pay attention to your family or friends if they point out changes in your mood. Then channel this angry energy into other more productive domains, says the expert. Instead of throwing things or yelling at people, you can exercise or engage in a sport (indoors preferably) or art.
2. Understand limitations of what is in your control and accept it
We do not have much control over weather patterns, so feeling overly frustrated over them does not help getting better. Weather is not in our control and you need to accept that.
3. Identify your triggers
Is driving for work in the afternoon sun something you absolutely hate? Or is standing in a line while it is 40 degree Celsius something that ticks you off? You just need to find out what is it that makes you so angry. You may need to make changes in your daily schedule and finish such tasks either in the mornings or late evenings.
Sometimes you may forget to drink water due to busy schedule, but stay hydrated. Use measured water bottles which show how much water you have consumed during the day. Make it a point to fulfill your requirements. On an average, women need around 2.7 liters of water. You can also go for cooling drinks this summer.
5. Deep breathing and meditation
Just spend 15 minutes on meditation and analyse your thoughts every morning. It goes a long way in controlling sudden mood changes and anger, Dr Gautam. Try to make this a part of your daily routine. It’s a healthy habit after all.
Follow these tips and keep calm this summer for better mental health. After all, the Hulk only looks good on the big screen.