Maintaining inner calm in rising temperatures

Lately, we have witnessed extreme heat across much of the country. In Texas, temperatures have consistently exceeded 100 degrees. When temperatures reach such extremes and people find themselves in uncomfortably hot conditions, it can significantly impact their mood and behavior. Exposure to summer heat increases heart rate, leading to discomfort. Feeling uncomfortable affects one's self-expression and alters how others interpret their words and actions. A simple bump in a crowd may escalate into a fight, or someone hearing an agitating song at a concert might impulsively rush the stage and attempt to tackle the performer. The regular stresses we all face daily become amplified stressors during extreme heat.


I have five suggestions that can help you beat the heat and manage your mood, regardless of how hot it is outside.

· Pay attention to your body's signals. What do you experience physically when you feel angry or irritable? Does the heat make you feel tired? Are your muscles tense? Do you feel lightheaded, have a dry mouth, or feel hungry? All these bodily sensations can make us short-tempered and anxious, initiating a cycle of panic that leads to impulsive reactions. Being aware of our emotions enables us to regulate them before they escalate uncontrollably.

· Pause, reflect, and consider the consequences. Excessive heat stresses the body as it struggles to regulate its temperature. Consequently, take more time to think things through instead of reacting hastily. When faced with challenging decisions or topics, try to create a momentary pause to calm down and give yourself space. If anger begins to build, remove yourself from the situation and reconsider the potential outcomes if you were to explode or create a scene.

· Understand your hydration needs. Many of us forget the importance of staying hydrated for our mental and emotional well-being. Since our bodies are 55 to 60% water, feeling thirsty indicates we are already dehydrated. Carry water with you and sip it throughout the day. Soft drinks, alcohol, and coffee irritate the bladder, increasing urination. Water helps balance hormones, which, in turn, aids in managing anxiety, frustration, and stress.

· Practice deep breathing, meditation, and prayer. When we take deep breaths instead of resorting to yelling, hitting, or acting out, our brain chemistry changes, slowing down our body's responses. Meditation helps us find inner space during triggering situations, while reciting prayers strengthens us, bringing us closer to our spiritual beliefs and helping us let go of the need to control the uncontrollable.

· Let go of what you cannot control and channel your anger energy productively. The heat will always make you irritable and uncomfortable, but your reaction to it can change. Channel that energy at the gym to improve your health, express your feelings by writing in a journal for self-understanding, or use it to fight for a cause that helps others.

Extreme heat affects individuals differently, and the more sensitive you are to heat, the stronger your negative reactions may be. If you are particularly sensitive, use the summer heat as an opportunity to pamper yourself a little more. Understanding what triggers your temper and minimizing exposure to those triggers significantly contributes to maintaining a calmer mood and life.