I’ve just finished reading an article by Daniel Goleman about how climate anxiety is becoming rampant. Is it wearing you down? In fact, it’s affecting younger people more strongly because they feel it will impact them during their life times.
Take a deep breath.
He reminds us that anxiety has a purpose. It makes us pay attention to something and may motivate us do something – to act. Of course, we can get overwhelmed and frazzled!
Firstly, let’s address the current facts about climate change. It’s not too late to slow or reverse some elements of the climate momentum. There are concrete examples of people already engaging in replenishment. For instance, “an update of an ancient technology, biochar, can use farming waste like chicken manure and cook it into material that absorbs carbon and locks it away for years, even centuries.” Goleman also recommends a book called The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall, which gives us several reasons to be optimistic about the future.
Ultimately, the reason for hope is the human capacity for innovation and the amazing resilience of nature and the human ability to adapt. Goleman assures us that the power of young people will be more motivated and focused on finding solutions than any past generation.
The big challenge is not to cave in to the overwhelm and to manage our anxiety so we can think more clearly. If we can do that we can adapt to new challenges and stay positive.
Anxiety can overwhelm us when we feel we are powerless to do something. Stephen Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which outlines a lovely model of the Circle of Control.
So what is in your control? What can you influence and what is out of your control but is an area of concern?
You can only actually control some things in life.
Innermost are things you can control (eating, breathing, sleeping, exercise, who you date, what you recycle)
Next are things you can influence (your young children, your spouse, employees, the local under 13 footy team)
Most distant are things that concern you (who’s in government, the price of petrol, the weather)
What circle are you focussing on? Because the circle you focus on will grow.
Are you pushing on the things you can control, gaining more and more responsibility over things within your grasp? Are you in the driver’s seat… OR
Are you trying to influence the things that concern you – the externalities of life? Is life pushing back on you? Everything is “out there” and “they” are responsible for our plight.
Where are you placing your energy?
What changes do you need to make to take back control?
Several emotional intelligence capabilities stand out as helpful in facing climate warming: managing our anxiety so we can think more clearly; adapting to new challenges; staying positive; and working together as a team to meet specific challenges.
Stay in the driving seat and if you feel like you need help to do that, especially if you’re feeling the pressure of Climate Aniety, then give me a call.