Climate anxiety, otherwise known as eco-anxiety can affect our mental health in numerous ways. Despite being a relatively new concept, growing studies show that global warming is starting to take a toll on people’s mental well-being. However, experts are encouraging everyone not to let the term get hyper-sensualized.
“Eco-anxiety is a term that’s used a lot, but it’s misguided if it’s not used in the right way,” Sarah Niblock of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) said. “This is not an illness or disorder, it’s a perfectly normal and healthy reaction.”
What you’re feeling is valid. That’s why it’s important to process it right, and cope with climate anxiety more effectively. Here’s how.
1. Find time to switch off
The daily onslaught of bad news can be overwhelming. Considering the amount of time and the easy access to information we now have, it can make us feel uneasy. The next thing we know, we could be left mentally paralyzed and unable to think clearly.
Find time to distance from your gadgets. Switch off your internet and turn to more productive and calming activities. This way, you can achieve the right balance between knowing and protecting yourself.
2. Remember you’re not alone
Millions of people around the world bear the same worry as you. They’re fighting the same battle and want nothing more than a thriving planet that will continue to be home for future generations. So always know you’re not alone.
There are plenty of nurturing and awakening conversations happening around the world. Instead of getting flooded only with bad news on your feed, find the right avenue to talk about it and learn more ways to cope and understand.
3. Transform your anxiety into action
The good thing is climate anxiety can be dealt with in various ways. One of the most impact-driven solutions is to turn your anxiety into action. Small habit changes and big leaps all make a difference.
Climate Psychologists’ Dr. Kennedy Williams explains: “If you are concerned about the climate, working for a fast fashion brand will likely not help your feelings of anxiety and guilt, but working in a sustainable business could be beneficial to both your mental health and the planet. Resilience is essential for this — it requires a careful balance of action and self-care.”
4. Support the right people and organizations
Surrounding yourself with the right energy is another step into coping with eco-anxiety. From investing on sustainable brands to supporting your local farmers and shops, there are so many ways you can keep the mind busy while saving the planet.
Start by following the right ones online, be it genuine environmental activists like Greta Thunberg or organizations like WWF and Worldwatch Institute. Not only will you learn so much. You’ll also find more inspiration to be better.
5. Stop pressuring yourself
It can be a lot when you suddenly realize how people are destructive towards wildlife and nature. It can easily bring us down if we’re unable to make the swift changes required of us. However, a little goes a long way. Make the change step by step, allow yourself shortcomings and grow from your mistakes.
Stop thinking that you have to do so much instantly. Find your own pace, stick to your path and embrace self-progress.