hot weather make you more irritable

Psychologist reveals how the weather can make us more irritable, and how to cool off as the heat rises

After the colder months, we welcome the heat rising, but according to a psychologist and well-being expert, it can also lead to a rise in levels of anger, irritability and even violence.
Wellbeing Psychologist and Coach Kirsty Leah from SupportRoom reveals that while warm and sunny weather makes us happier and more agreeable, once outside temperatures become sweltering we become noticeably more irritable and likely to lash out in anger.

Why does the heat make us more irritable?

Unlike in the cooler months when we can easily warm up to a comfortable temperature, many people report the feeling of being unable to escape the heat, especially in the UK where air conditioning is less commonplace.

Hotter weather has a particularly bad impact on our sleep, making it difficult to nod off or get enough quality sleep as we struggle to cool down. This then sets a bad precedent for our day, with our brains not able to deal with emotional regulation and problem-solving as effectively due to a lack of restorative rest.

As a result, you’re more likely to respond with greater extremes of emotions, couple this with dehydration and feeling physically uncomfortable due to the heat and our tolerance levels and patience are worn thin, meaning what may
usually be seen as a minor issue can suddenly feel like a huge problem.

When patience is thin tempers can flare, with data collected by the London Metropolitan Police showing that violence increases as the mercury rises, with violent crimes 14% higher when temperatures are above 20°C.

Research has also suggested that by losing even just 2% of the body’s water we can end up struggling with tasks that demand mental and physical attention and coordination, which can add to our emotional turmoil as we become increasingly frustrated with our inability to focus or work effectively.

If we get too hot, we can also begin to suffer the effects of heatstroke, which can increase feelings of confusion and agitation as well as make us feel physically nauseous or fatigued, further contributing to our feelings of discomfort and
amping up our irritability.

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3 Tips to Keep Calm in the Heat

While it can often feel inescapable, here are 3 ways you can beat the heat and keep irritation at bay this Summer:

  • Be Patient and Don’t Make any Big Decisions – it’s common to see us snapping at others or making rash decisions when the heat has us struggling, so it’s important to not make any big decisions until you are well-rested and feel you can make a well-informed choice. Remember that if you’re feeling it, others are too, so try to be extra patient and lower your expectations until things are cooler.
  • Consider Holding Back – when it gets hot more people will be working with a shorter fuse than usual, so whether it’s an important conversation or routine check-in, consider how those around you may be feeling, and consider holding back on more intense conversations until the heat subsides.
  • Make Lifestyle Changes – by avoiding the high afternoon heat, staying hydrated, and investing in lighter bed sheets or a fan, you may be able to navigate the hotter months with more ease and calm.

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