The heat can mess with your mood - but here's what to do

As much as you may look forward to these hot summer days, you might also find as your body temp rises, so does your temper.  

Have you ever noticed you feel more anxious or stressed when it gets really hot outside?  Well, you’re not alone.

Research shows the heat can actually mess with your mood.

"Studies indicate that excessive heat triggers feelings of anxiety, agitation, irritation, and cognitive difficulties," said Dr. Susan Albers. "In fact,
during heat waves, we see an increase of suicides, substance use, domestic violence and emergency room visits due to mental health issues.

"The heat doesn’t cause mental health issues, but it does exacerbate many of the symptoms that people experience."

Albers is a psychologist with Cleveland Clinic. She says in extreme temperatures, our bodies have to work harder to keep us cool and that can cause the release of cortisol.

Cortisol is our body’s main stress hormone. She notes the heat can also disrupt our sleep, which can make us more irritable and also make it harder to focus and function in general.

The best way to combat these issues is by drinking plenty of water, eating foods with high water content can be helpful too. Some examples include cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon and grapes.

"It's important to stay cool," she said. "You can do this by staying indoors. Don't go out between the hours of 10 and 4, the hottest part of the day. if you don't have air conditioning, you can go to the library, walk around a shopping mall.

"You can also take a cold shower or put a cold washcloth on your forehead, this is going to instantly help with the cognitive symptoms that you may be experiencing during heat waves, such as focus and attention."

One of the best strategies is to stay well hydrated. Studies show people often don't drink enough water during these hot days and just a little dehydration can impact your cognitive abilities.