Indian States Facing Hazards of Heatwave: Does It Affect You Mentally?

Indian States Facing Hazards of Heatwave: Does It Affect You Mentally?


Heatwaves have raised an alarm across the country. Ministry of Ayush has issued guidelines to deal with continuous rising temperatures in many Indian states with increasing cases of heat strokes.

IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) describes heatwaves as an increase in air temperature that is dangerous to people. Heatwave is defined as when the maximum temperature is above 40C in plane regions like that of the capital region or Delta; and more than 30C in hilly regions like Himachal Pradesh. The capital had recorded its hottest day this Sunday, leaving Delhiites with no chill this weekend. While it is being expected that Delhi will get no relief this coming week; the states of Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. Gujarat and Karnataka will also witness soaring mercury temperatures.

Psychological Impacts

With the surge of patients in Indian hospitals coming as victims of heat waves, physical implications are indeed severe. But how does it affect us psychologically? This mental effect often goes undervalued. Being aware of it can help to improve our quality of life and mental well-being this summer.

Heat Stress:

It is one of the major underlying causes of the mental effects of heat waves. Heat stress involves inefficient blood flow. If this continues for a longer period of time, it can increase palpitations, that is heart rate is more than usual. Such physiological changes can be a risk factor for anxiety.

Anxiety and irritability:

Due to high temperatures, our body might feel situation of stress, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, Due to this, anxiety symptoms like feelings of restlessness can increase rapidly. With such a surge of hormones, emotional well-being has significant effects. A lower level of patience with increased frustration can affect emotional as well as social regulation.

Mood swings:

With turmoil in emotional stability, mood fluctuations are evidently common. Feeling low can persist for quite a longer period of time along with extreme mood swings that does not happen in everyday life with an average temperature.

Sleep disturbances:

It is one of the most undervalued impacts of climate change, especially increased temperatures. Various research has proven that temperature increases, be it seasonal or climatic change through global warming, it can alter our sleep cycle and biological clock negatively. This disruption in sleeping patterns can be both short-term as well as long-term which often goes unnoticed. With this, mental well-being is directly compromised reducing functional efficiency and prolonged feeling of fatigue.

Reduced energy level:

The metaphor that the sun is sucking out energy from our heads is indeed an accurate representation. With continued energy overconsumption and dehydration, it is natural to feel less motivated to work, affecting functional work, be it personal, professional, social or even recreational.

Environmental helplessness:

Many people can ehi] exhibit emotions of helplessness when they see themselves in a situation where they can’t control extreme factors of the immediate environment. It can have a significant contribution to emotional distress.

Self-care is the solution!

This can be the best way to combat heat waves. Self-care tasks as simple as staying hydrated can go miles. UNICEF has provided guidelines to deal with in-Wearing loose cotton clothes can save you from situations of irritability and suffocation. Keep a customized emergency kit ready, with any energy drink to deal with draining energy levels. Eating light unprocessed food can help to reduce heat within the body.

Moreover, India with its geographical features has incorporated heatwaves as a part of it every summer. But everyone has their own way each season for dealing with it. Having an efficient, customized plan for yourself in combating heat waves can be quite beneficial.

  • Rony MKK, Alamgir HM. High temperatures on mental health: Recognizing the association and the need for proactive strategies-A perspective. Health Sci Rep. 2023 Dec 4;6(12):e1729. doi: 10.1002/hsr2.1729. PMID: 38059052; PMCID: PMC10696165.

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