A Peer’s Perspective: Climate Change
By Jill Davis
Change the Climate in Your Daily Lives
We hear a lot about the impact of climate change today. Seldom a day goes by when this is left out of the media lexicon and no matter what view you may hold, there can be found a vast array of insights to peruse and ponder. While the debate storms on about just how much control we have on the world around us, join me in taking a more individual look at the opportunities you may have to change the climate in your daily lives and what impact that could have on the atmosphere you create in your environment and mental health each day.
Henry David Thoreau eloquently penned “Behave so that the aroma of your actions may enhance the sweetness of the atmosphere.” What could that look like in your home? In your job? In your relationships and casual discourse? While it is easy to react, which can add to the thunderstorm, what if your responses included a drizzle of empathy, validation and room for understanding? How overcast skies could make way for a less stormy undercurrent!
While we certainly can’t control the way others behave, I believe and have experienced that by modeling what we would like to receive, we allow the possibility for different patterns of interaction to occur. I remember one such interaction well.
Quite a number of years ago, I worked with someone who had more bad days than good ones. Interactions were challenging at best and in all honesty, I had moments of frustration and anger due to the climate this person created. It was hard not to succumb to the same mood, as it was quite contagious! Those who know my optimistic and sunny disposition may be surprised as it usually prevails in instances such as this. As the story goes, I came to realize that this was something I couldn’t take personally, and this human being was reacting to a life that was not going as planned. Because of this understanding, my view changed so that my words were kinder and my patience grew longer. With this nugget of insight, the groundwork was laid for better discourse and a more temperate outlook in our relationship forecast.
How to Build Healthy Relationships
Just as preparation for the weather is important, preparation is called for considerations and interactions such as these as well. Here are just a few thoughts to keep on your relationship radar as you create the weather around you:
- Offer compassion
- Exercise patience
- Check assumptions and judgement at the door
- Set boundaries when needed
…and above all, sharing the words of a classic song, “Whenever skies are gray don’t worry or fret. A smile will bring us sunshine and you’ll never get wet. So let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day”.
What small thing can you do to help those who are experiencing storms to feel the calm once again? What would you want when you are feeling less than balmy and bright?
Mental Health Services in Colorado
Mind Springs Health offers therapy and counseling throughout the western slope of Colorado. Learn how to make the first appointment today.
Jill Davis, CPFS is Peer Services Coordinator for Mind Springs Health and is here to support her readers.
Drop her a line at Peers@MindSpringsHealth.org