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Medicina Funcional Integrativa

Is the cold psychological or not?

The cold is not psychological
The cold is not psychological because we know that the external temperature affects the organism that reacts to the environment in a certain way. For example, at low temperatures the body shivers, at high temperatures the body sweats to balance the temperature.
In this sense, cold is not psychological because there is something objective that triggers specific and objective responses in any human body, according to temperature.

Cold is psychological
However, there are also subjective and cultural factors in how the environment is interpreted.
Let’s imagine that in Portugal, during autumn, it’s very cold and we all walk very warmly. In the same situation we can observe a Norwegian wearing a short-sleeved shirt, because for him the current temperature is similar to the summer temperature in Norway.
In this case, we are facing the cultural factor. As he was born in a colder country than ours, he is already used to the cold. Winter temperatures are for him, summer temperatures for us. This is about your subjective experience of cold and consequently heat. The opposite also happens, if we go to Norway in the summer, we will probably dress warmer than is normal for them Norwegians.

Effect of cold on our cognitive abilities
If the cold is intense, we can admit that it distracts us, that is, it diverts our attention from the task we are doing.

If the cold is moderate, it can make us more awake and more awake. These conditions allow our brain to perform better.

Winter has little light and very short days, which is a factor that increases the frequency of depressive symptoms in this season. Depression decreases brain efficiency.

There is also evidence on thyroid hormone concentrations and their influence on brain function. These are reduced in severe winters, that is, brain efficiency decreases.

If we make an effort, we can change the way we feel the cold, whether from our psychological experience, influenced by culture, or by shifting our attention to another focus, such as, for example, distracting ourselves with music, drinking tea, or even imagining a beautiful, sun-drenched beach. Acupuncture can also help.

However, just in case, dress warmly!

EsmeraldAzul – for a healthy, conscious and sustainable life.

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