Everyone is understandably worried about the future with all the recent natural disasters like hurricanes, heat waves, and wildfires. However, dwelling on or avoiding the issue will not bring relief.
Apparently, reducing worry about climate disaster is, in many ways, as difficult as taking action on climate change. However, by concentrating on a few essential strategies to lessen excessive worry, we may all breathe a bit better and contribute to a better future for all.
In this article, you will learn about climate anxiety and discover strategies to help you overcome it. Read on to find out!
What Is Climate Anxiety?
People concerned about the mental impact of climate change have adopted the term "climate anxiety" to describe their feelings. Also known as eco-anxiety, solastalgia, or ecological grief, it refers to a sense of anxiety, stress, or fear related to climate change.
Climate anxiety is not necessarily a disease. Climate change poses a serious global threat. Thus, it's natural to be concerned and even fearful about its potential outcomes. Anxiety over the climate frequently comes with feelings of despair, anger, guilt, and humiliation, which can alter mood, behavior, and reasoning.
How Common Is Climate Anxiety?
Summer heatwaves and droughts, flooding, air pollution, pollen and higher environmental temperatures, deterioration in water and food quality, and vector-borne diseases are the primary climate-related health hazards in the UK.
The University of York and the Global Future think tank survey found that 78% of respondents were worried about climate change, with 41% saying they were "very much" or "very" worried.
High levels of anxiety about climate change were reported by respondents of all socioeconomic backgrounds, with 42% of the middle and upper classes indicating high levels of anxiety compared to 39% of the working classes.
Nearly half (43%) of respondents in London, the east, and southeast of England reported high levels of concern about climate change, compared to 38% in the north and the Midlands.
The survey also found that women (45%) are more worried about climate change than men (36%) and are more open to changing their behaviour.
How Does Climate Change Affect Mental Well-being?
Climate change can have direct (through natural catastrophes) and indirect (such as food insecurity) effects on mental health. Warmer temperatures may hinder children's and teenagers' mental growth and have been linked to increased visits to psychiatric clinics. Furthermore, there is a correlation between food insecurity and mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, and behaviour issues.
How To Overcome Climate Anxiety?
A person suffering from climate anxiety could feel anxious, terrified, or worried about the effects of climate change and what the future may hold for the planet. They may also feel hopeless and helpless, contributing to their depressed state.
Unfortunately, anxiety can lead to a disorder. Thus, one needs to take personal action to help alleviate this concern and manage what can be controlled.
This is why we're going to go over several easy ways you can help the planet and take care of well-being at the same time.
#1 Be kind to yourself.
Allow yourself space and time to feel. Recognizing your uneasy feelings is the first step in resolving them, despite the fact that they are complicated and intense. At the very least, it will make your efforts to combat climate change more effective.
#2 Pay attention to the things you have control over
Recognise that saving the world’s climate is not your job. No single person, business, or government can tackle the issue of climate change on their own. However discouraging it may be at the time, it serves as a valuable reminder to concentrate on what you can control.
Remember that you can't control everything, but you can control how you react to it, so try not to put undue stress on yourself.
You can help the environment even in the littlest way you can. Taking action on climate change on your own may be quite satisfying, especially if you've been feeling disheartened by what other people are (or aren't) doing.
As an individual, you can make a difference in the world by doing many things, including the following:
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Public transit or carpool.
- Reduce meat consumption.
- Use a reusable mug for your coffee and other beverages.
- Bring reusable shopping bags when you buy groceries.
- Turn off unused lights.
#3 Share your thoughts with others.
Discuss your environmental principles and concerns with someone you can trust. If you're feeling overwhelmed, talking to a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist might be a huge help.
#4 Consider the bright side
It's easy to feel dispirited by climate change reports and alarming data, but it's important to remember that many people are engaged in finding solutions to the problem and that there are bright spots. Remember that you are a part of a community; follow accounts that post updates from climate leaders making a difference in their local communities.
#5 Prioritise self-care
Taking a break from listening to the latest weather reports allows you to focus on yourself and your well-being. Put yourself first and prioritise whatever it is that you need. Make time in your schedule to relax and do activities you enjoy. You can:
- Go for a walk in the park,
- Read a book,
- Pursue a hobby,
- Watch television,
#6 Take a break from climate change news.
Taking a break isn't as strange as it seems; it's an excellent approach to prevent burnout and help you gain clarity on what course of action to pursue. Furthermore, while feeling down or overwhelmed by climate change concerns, it is crucial that you should prioritise self-care. Give these a shot:
- Turn off news and email feeds.
- Tell people you need a vacation from climate change talk.
- Relax and chill with nature
- Hang out with your friends.
#7 Speak up for what you stand for.
After processing your emotions, taking meaningful action can be an essential step forward. You need to ask yourself what you can bring to the table regarding skills, abilities, and resources to be effective in your climate action.
Remember that your opinion counts. Even if you're already doing things on your own, there's more you can do. You can:
- Ask a politician what they're doing or urge them to act.
- Ask your school or employer to start working on green practises.
- Join climate change organizations to volunteer and run campaigns.
Looking for more ways to reduce anxiety naturally? Read here.
Are you ready to conquer climate anxiety?
There is a lot of uncertainty around the climate, but taking action may give you a sense of control. Get in touch with others, band together, and alter your way of life to reflect your core beliefs. Try your best to overcome climate anxiety from eating you within. Stay calm and focus on the things that matter.
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