THE WEATHER AND YOUR ANXIETY
Updated: Sep 15
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. Everyone feels anxious at some point, and it’s normal to feel anxious before big or important events such as exams, job interviews or medical tests. However, sometimes you can find yourself feeling anxious most of the time, even when there’s no specific thing you’re worried about, and that anxiety can be hard to control.
Do I have anxiety?
If you’re suffering from anxiety, you may have a constant underlying feeling of restlessness or unease. You might feel “on edge” a lot and struggle to remember the last time you felt relaxed. You may become worried about everyday things such as seeing your family and friends or going to work, and you may change your behaviour to avoid situations that you used to find normal.
Anxiety has both physical and mental symptoms, which might include:
Heart palpitations or “flutters”.
Symptoms vary from person to person, with some people only experiencing one or two symptoms and others feeling a wide range. If you think you might have symptoms of anxiety, it’s best to speak to your doctor.
Can the weather affect anxiety?
We often make the connection between bad weather and “the blues”, but what about anxiety? Research by the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology found that anxiety peaks as the temperature rises, and concluded that an increase of panic attacks in summer was related to the hot weather.
Psychotherapist Ellen Yom explains: “Summer can be especially anxiety-producing for those who have experienced panic attacks in the past”. She says that the physical symptoms of a panic attack can be very intense, and the sensations we feel during hot weather can mimic some of those symptoms, such as sweating, feeling lightheaded and feeling confined. For somebody who has experienced panic attacks before, this reminder can be very distressing.
It’s not just hot temperatures that can increase your anxiety. Research has found that one in six British people feel more anxious in winter, and a study of Google searches found that winter had a negative effect on all mental health conditions. This may be partly due to the reduction in serotonin levels that comes with less sunlight exposure, which we know affects your mood, appetite and sleep.
How can I manage anxiety weather triggers?
Any unexpected changes can be triggering if you suffer from anxiety, but Weather Flare can give you the knowledge you need to feel in control. With the Weather Flare app, you can be prepared for weather triggers that might make your symptoms worse. For example, when you see a spell of hot weather coming in, you can make a conscious effort to stay hydrated, plan your schedule so you’re not outside during the hottest parts of the day, and remind yourself that any unpleasant sensations like sweating are simply due to the heat.
We’re currently in the beta testing phase of the Weather Flare app. We’re trying to make it as helpful as possible for people to manage conditions such as anxiety, and we’d love your feedback on how it works for you so far and what you’d like to see improved. Download the beta Weather Flare app now on iOS and Android and see how it can help you!