According to the report, put together in association with Climate for Health and ecoAmerica, the ever-changing weather is a formidable source of stress many of us don’t think about. As climate change affects our agriculture, economies, and communities, the stress-inducing side effects trickle down to us.
For those exposed to the chaos of natural disasters, things are even worse. They can experience fear, grief, anxiety, depression, and tend to fall back on unhealthy behavior like substance abuse after such tragic events. Some even develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which can take years of therapy to manage. And the report says people forced to migrate due to natural disasters or other climate change-related causes often experience strains on their personal relationships, a loss of social support, and tend to have more absences from work.
But even if you’re not experiencing natural disasters first-hand, you’re constantly hearing about them, and that bombardment of depressing news can be enough to tip the stress scales in your brain. And the effects of climate change reach us in more subtle ways as well. Seasonal weather, for example, plays a much bigger role in your mood than you might realize. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can strike during abnormally long winters, and it’s been suggested that prolonged exposure to warmer weather, like during an unusually hot summer, can make you more aggressive and reduce your cognitive function.