You may or may not have heard of eco-anxiety, but it is the anxious thought about the climate; it is also called climate anxiety. You may have experienced environmental factors over the past few years, which has made you feel anxious about potential future events.
The term eco-anxiety is a new phrase, and more of us will inevitably become concerned with the world’s climate as the year’s progress. We have all heard the news about what could happen if we do not get the climate under control; however, what can you do if you are being affected by it now.
We as individuals globally have zero control over weather patterns; we are limited as individuals as to what we can do to combat global climate change, but that does not mean saying we can do nothing. I hope this article will help in some way to help you with your eco-anxiety.
What Exactly is Eco-Anxiety?
If you have suffered a recent event such as fire or flooding, you will be anxious about the next time there is a drought or a surplus of rain. We would all be the same. It is only natural to feel this way. Being impacted by extreme weather events will become commonplace according to science due to global warming.
The effects of eco-anxiety are as follows:
- Hopelessness, a sense there is nothing you can do personally
- Anger and frustration at those who deny there is a problem
- Fatalistic thinking, such as there is no hope, we are all going to die
- Worrying too much about your carbon footprint to the extent you are obsessed with it
- You may have post-traumatic stress from experiencing a severe climate event
- You may become depressed, usually apparent within the fatalistic approach
- Grief over the loss of habitats and animals due to human actions
- You may also be losing sleep, not eating very well and/or having trouble concentrating
What may have started as mild frustration could have turned into an obsession and lead you down the path of depression and severe anxious thoughts; if this is the case, I would advise contacting your doctor to get the help you need.
How Can You Improve Yourself?
1. Acknowledging Lack of Control
There are numerous ways to help yourself introduce a calm approach to global climate change, and although we have zero control over the situation, it should be noted as a positive. Understanding you have no control will free your mind rather than constraining it. Yes, you can do your part in helping, but zealously obsessing will do you more harm than good, and you won’t help others in the long run.
As humans, we love to feel in control of our destiny, but when it comes to mother nature, we soon find out we are not really in control. Having respect for the climate is one way of acknowledging your lack of control. Doing so will help calm your eco-anxiety; taking responsibility from your shoulders is of paramount importance when relinquishing control.
It would help if you focused on what you can control; by doing so, you will still be doing your part in combatting global climate change but through various beneficial activities. You could write to your government, participate in a march against climate change, give talks in schools and colleges with the information you have learned. All these things are more useful than trying to have an impact on the world itself.
Small steps eventually cover the same distance as a giant leap.
2. Avoid The News For a While
Every day we are bombarded by news, and at certain times of the year, we are always faced with certain situations such as hurricanes or typhoon season. Drought or wildfire season and so on, there are patterns which we know because of science which may increase. But you should only be focusing on your part of the world; if you start your day by listening to the news about the effects of climate change all around the world, you will become disheartened.
Try to focus on your local channel; this is where the important stuff is for your benefit. Forget global coverage; it is enough to cause most people to become anxious. It is fine to catch up once a week on global news, but when you begin to obsess over it, it is time to change the channel or get off of social media for a while.
If you feel the need to want to help, then go to a charity website for that country and if they are appealing for help such as money or clothing, do your part to feel better than you have managed to achieve something. Create action rather than the inaction of news watching.
3. You Are Not Alone
The whole world is in on this, and you are not alone, we are all with you, yes some of us may have differing views, but you don’t have to listen to them. Listen to the people you trust and understand. We all will eventually have to wake up and face what could be thrown at us. But don’t let it affect you today if nothing untoward has happened.
Yes, it is OK to plan for the future, but obsessing over it will take away the joy you can be having now. By all means, meet up with other like-minded people but remember to view the world as it is now. Full of life, an abundance of animals on the land and oceans make the most of every moment.
If you still can’t switch off your brain, I suggest practising mindfulness; living in the moment for even five minutes a day can improve your outlook on life. I have a couple of mindfulness techniques on the website, the raisin technique and the tea meditation. You can also download free apps to help you with living in the moment.
Eco-anxiety does not have to be a part of your life; the environment, yes, but not the anxiety. You can move forward and not get stuck in a vicious circle of negative thoughts. I hope this article helps in some way, and I would also suggest reading the tips and tricks to beat anxiety on the website.
Peace & Blessings