It is a practice in the Philippines to devote Sundays for family activity. So, as a Christian family we started the day attending mass at the Shrine of Infant Jesus of Prague in Shrine Hills here in the city, until the end of the mass the weather was obliging. At about 11 in the morning we went downtown for some grilled chicken for lunch, as always children really go nuts with this birdie.

It was a windless, cloudless, blue sky, the humidity was relatively zero and a 37*C in temperature is already a little hell come to life at least to us.

We were supposed to go to the mall after the mass, but on our way the car’s air conditioner broke down. Three adults and three children, gone cranky because of sweltering atmosphere, Angelo the youngest at 1 year and 10 months began crying that add up the five frenzied heads. Leandro, the oldest muttering about, I want to live in Alaska right now, it’s so hot here! So instead of malling, we headed home.

When the heat receded, thanks to the artificially cooled environ, I began to realize suppose we live in Alaska, would a family day like ours can still be spoiled by weather?

Then I thought about a book I read sometime ago by Winifred Gallagher, ‘THE POWER OF PLACE’ How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Here, she elucidated that environment influences our behavior. That environment is not just backdrops to our lives – they affect how we think, feel, and act! She furthered that for thousands of years, physicians considered the power of place to be common sense. Then, in the 20th century, people began to turn away from the world to focus inside themselves, whether on their experience of brain chemistry, to gain insight into their behavior.

While this book focused much on SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of disorder that is triggered by seasons and most of the time associated with winter depression, I think what we have undergone was also another type of SAD associated with scorching season.

Symptoms of SAD include; A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods; Weight gain; A drop in energy level; Fatigue; A tendency to oversleep; Difficulty concentrating; Irritability and anxiety; Increased sensitivity to social rejection; Avoidance of social situations and a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy.

And then my reckless thoughts began rolling about some symptoms we experience of hot-onset SAD which include; Increase in appetite, especially cold stuff, e.g. sundaes, shakes or a Philippine hot season delicacy “halo-halo”; loss of weight due to excessive sweating that will result also to fatigue, tendency to stay awake and fan yourself; difficulty in concentrating; Irritability and anxiety due to restlessness; increased sensitivity to social rejection also applies due to awful body smell brought about by excessive sweating; Avoidance of social situations and a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy because on a hot, sizzling day you tend to just stay and avoid the harsh, roasted feeling.

Is there a treatment for SAD?

Experts say yes, treatment is available for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter-onset SAD is most likely caused by your body's reaction to the lack of sunlight therefore; light therapy is one option for treating this type of SAD because increased sunlight can improve symptoms. Treatment is also available to hot-onset SAD and this is most likely caused by your body’s reaction to too much sunlight. Regulated, cool environment is an option for treatment. I guess our choice to go malling was likely to be the treatment, but we were carried away by our raging emotions brought about by burning surroundings, indeed weather influences behavior. (Photo Credits: www.flickr.com/photo/mongol/)

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