You are not alone if you experience worry, grief, or irritation when considering or hearing about the state of the planet. In reality, 75% of the world’s population is concerned about climate change.
The first thing to recognize is that having climate anxiety is completely justified. It’s very understandable to be concerned about climate change, especially when the consequences are playing out right in front of our eyes, and they’re getting worse every day we wait to take action. It’s critical to accept those feelings, accept that they’re normal, and channel them into something constructive.
So, what is eco-anxiety, exactly?
Eco-anxiety (also known as “eco-distress,” or “climate-anxiety”), is a term used to describe how people feel when they learn terrible news about our planet, climate, or environment.
Anxiety, worry, upset, fear, sadness, anger, overwhelmed, or apprehension about the future are all possible feelings. That’s understandable. Climate change is a serious problem that affects people’s lives, livelihoods, the economy, and ecosystems all across the world.
In fact, many psychologists argue that eco-anxiety isn’t actually “anxiety” in its most basic form because such sentiments are a natural and rational reaction to the scenario we’re observing.
What can you do if you’re worried about the environment?
The good news is that there are a number of practical steps we can take to alleviate our concerns and conquer our environmental anxiety. So here are 5 tips for dealing with climate anxiety.
1. Get to work
A tried-and-true coping approach is to channel your feelings of overload or stress into something constructive that will assist the situation. You could do the following:
- Become a member of a climate action group
- Send emails to politicians and large corporations to put pressure on them to act
- And finally on a personal level, you can change the way you live, by taking public or active transportation, switching to sustainable energy sources, and increasing your home’s energy efficiency
- Bonus, you can become a trail volunteer
2. Take a break
Constantly thinking about, hearing about, and discussing climate change may be emotionally draining, so it’s a good idea to take a break now and again to recharge. You could do the following:
- Make a concerted effort to stay away from the news for a 24-hour period
- Allow yourself a mental wellness day to engage in the things you enjoy
- Make it a point to include rest in your weekly schedule
3. Have a good time
Positive experiences are crucial for self-motivation (and motivating others). We are more likely to want to pour ourselves into assisting issues we care about when we are feeling happy.
4. Get your body moving
Make sure you’re still moving your body on a daily basis if you want to keep your mental health and sleep patterns in check. Walking, running, yoga, and team sports are among the best ways to do so, particularly because they typically require you to get outside and into nature.
5. Concentrate on the solutions
All of the answers to the climate catastrophe are already more or less in place. Focusing on these helps restore our sense of hope and optimism, as well as remind us that we can make a difference. So, remember that it’s maybe not as bleak as we think it is all the time.
In other news, here is how Nike and Newlight have partnered to fight for climate change.
Photo via Inside Climate News