As negotiations at COP26 come to close, the world watches as decisions announced will define the future of our planet. A sense of "climate anxiety" is more palpable than ever, so what can we do as individuals to channel anxiety into positive change?

For change maker Joe Williams from IndigenousX, it's our ability to reflect that galvanises action; he says, “when we are living in the present, we become more aware of our thought patterns and the inner chat that speaks to us. It is in this place of mindfulness that we can slowly begin to implement change”.   

Here are three ways that mindfulness be an ally in these times: 

  1. Staying calm while staying engaged. 'Doom scrolling' through bleak news can leave us feeling drained and defeated. Mindfulness can help us to be with difficult emotions and to step out of a cycle of worry so that we can remain centred and recharged to take positive steps forward. 

  2. Finding connection with others. For change to happen, we need to act collectively. Engaging in conversations with others and using compassion and empathy to listen deeply can help us to convey important points and respond intelligently.

  3. Channel anxiety into action. Anxiety is in response to threat, so it's not surprising that our instincts tell us to put our heads in the sand. Having the ability to recognise this response can empower ourselves to channel that energy into solution-oriented action. Ways you can take positive action include using your voice to spread awareness, being mindful of your daily consumption and keeping abreast of the many other ways you can create an impact.

For those interested in reading more about this topic, the Global Environmental Change journal has recently published a new study that goes deeper into how inner-outer change can cause the shift needed for a more sustainable future.