Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

It really feels like climate change is getting more imminent by the day. With every other headline about how temperature levels are rising, animals are going extinct, and companies aren’t reaching their promised quotas, fear, stress, and anxiety over climate change can be extremely overwhelming at times.

Emotional inflammation

The term ‘emotional inflammation’ describes this state perfectly as the feeling of being on edge and generally filled with dread. Having high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, pumping through our body 24/7 is not good for both our physical and psychological health.

Studies have shown that emotional inflammation leads to individuals carrying a greater negativity bias. This means we perceive events and social interactions through a negative lens. Overthinking situations and encouraging a pessimistic worldview around us, increasing those cortisol levels even further. Our decision making abilities are also impacted, with stress associated with higher levels of risk taking and lower levels of empathy.

Physical inflammation

Physical inflammation all over the body can be worsened by stress, anger, and anxiety, leading to an array of negative physical health effects. The increasing severity of climate change has been shown to also exacerbate inflammation levels. Growing climate anxiety and pollution levels can also cause brain damage and reduced sperm count. This physical swelling can impact our decision making, with studies linking inflammation of the brain to impulsive decision making, unstable mood, and inability to delay gratification. This has far stretching implications on individual and public health.

Currently, the UN climate conference COP26 is underway in Glasgow. Activists, leaders, and experts have gathered to discuss the biggest issue humankind has ever faced. Here, important policymaking is being discussed and decisions made which influence every individual on the planet, including future generations to come.

For leaders, activists, and ourselves, it is important that we are not in an inflamed state of mind when making these crucial choices. A fitting quote from the book Dune describes this situation: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is a little-death that brings total obliteration.”

We can fight it together!

At The Optimist Daily, we provide solutions to make some of this emotional inflammation a little easier. In order to make better decisions for the future, we need to look at the positives of the present, the potential of the future, and try to reduce some of that climate fear. For example, some countries have already achieved carbon negativity, and over 100 countries have pledged to stop deforestation!

We hope to assist you through this process of self care and have numerous articles to help you on your way. Need an emotional inflammation check? Take a look at our guide to fighting chronic inflammation and tips from a neuroscientist on how to best use all that anxious energy.

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