Cold-induced irritability

I don’t know if it’s correct to call what I’m experiencing anger, but there is something recognizably similar going on in my nervous system in extreme cold. Maybe it’s just an innate bracing reaction. In any case, when I step outside into –20°F (–29°C) air, I feel a sudden spike of something very similar to rage. Usually it’s brief and I can adjust, but it leaves me wondering: what am I getting angry at?

I am not prone to anger, dispositionally speaking. I think I’m also just lucky to not have much in my life worth getting angry over. But when it’s really cold out, even if I’m inside, I feel much more sensitive to small irritations. Small things I normally wouldn’t notice can become like nails on a chalkboard.*

Photo credit: Eric Kilby

I might be subconsciously responding to the hostility of the outside environment with a defensive posture. Maybe the cold is causing me to compensate with tension in parts of my body that increase my touchiness. It’s probably an opportunity for me to practice a little mindfulness and unwind my natural cold-reaction.

That’s all I have to say about the cold for now. It’s late, so I’m tired, and also worn out from bracing myself against the cold I know is out there. I hope everyone around here can stay warm tonight, especially those without permanent shelter.

Does it get cold where you live? Do you notice a weird anger-like reaction to extreme cold? Do you have some other emotional response to the weather where you live? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​

* If you’ve never heard ice & snow & cold metal scraping against each other at these temperatures, it’s actually worse than nails on a chalkboard by a long shot.