If you read Psychology Today, you’ve likely seen the June 2012 article entitled “Heat Seekers” which equates physical and social ‘warmth’. If you haven’t, it basically says this: if you feel physically cold, you’re likely to also feel more lonely and stingy than you would if you felt physically warm. It also states that “temperature affects our perception and mood below our level of awareness”, and that drinking a cup of iced coffee can make us “judge others as unfriendly”.
I thought about this on my morning drive, intentionally notching up my car’s thermostat in between sips of hot coffee. How might this impact my ability to feel empathy for my audience while I’m working? How might I counteract it, short of walking around all day wrapped in an electric blanket? A few simple things came to mind:
- No Frappuccinos immediately before or during important meetings, particularly when I don’t know the attendees well or when active collaboration is on the agenda.
- Frequent small breaks that include wandering around will clear the head and warm the body.
- Cold hands are the worst; fingerless gloves embedded with heating elements would be nice to have in my design space. Maybe I can figure out how to knit up a pair, or could chop the tips off some of those heated glove liners they make for motorcyclists.
Or maybe I’ll just move to Hawaii.
[image credit: Flickr / smile4camera]