What is the climate of your life and your family’s life?

Climate is the average weather of a place. It includes precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind, and seasons. Shifts in climate create weather patterns and weather patterns impact a broad range of aspects of our lives, including: dress, habits, mood, economics, etc. You might be saying, “OK, Amy. We know this. So, what does this have to do with good mental health?”

Consider what the climate is of yourself and your family. Aspects of personal climate include: mood, self-acceptance, self-compassion, joy, frequency of encountering stressors, level of reactivity to said stressors, amount of life satisfaction, etc. Some aspects of your climate are outside of your control, such as encounters with stressors, physical health problems, and necessary responsibilities. However, many aspects of our climate are within your control: the way you perceive and manage stressors, the amount of self-compassion you practice, and even determining whether or not the responsibilities you assume are necessary for you to take on. I invite you to consider what type of climate you cultivate for yourself and what changes would improve your climate.

In your family, each person’s individual climates interact. When climates interact poorly, reactivity is natural and tumultuous “weather” often develops. Think of the time your husband comes home stressed and you react to his stress. The evening suddenly becomes harder for everyone. Consider what type of climate you want for your family. Are there too many volcanos? Can there be more sun or calm? Can you embrace the occasional storm as a potential ingredient for growth?

Just as one small shift in can create massive climate changes, one positive shift can dramatically improve the climate of an individual and have powerful ripple effects on a family.