‘Eco-anxiety’ is an increasingly used term to describe the stress and anxiety felt about environmental damage due to global warming. It often manifests in feelings of helplessness and can cause harm to people’s mental health.
With cyclones in India and Bangladesh worsening, Southern African countries facing severe droughts, wildfires burning in Greece and Turkey and extreme flooding in Germany and Belgium, it’s unsurprising that eco-anxiety is increasing.
Eco-anxiety is not a clinical condition, it is a reasonable and logical response to the environmental changes happening, especially for those who are more aware of the destruction being caused by climate change.
Overcoming Eco Anxiety
- Accept your feelings. It’s important to recognise that your feelings are a healthy response and not try to push them away. Acknowledge your feelings and celebrate that it often motivates you to choose a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Communicate with the community. If you have family or friends that are difficult to talk to about the climate crisis, don’t put yourself through more pain trying to speak to them about your feelings. Instead find people in the community, whether this is through social media, online groups or friends that share similar feelings to you. Express to them how you’re feeling and voice your worries. For all you know there is someone feeling the exact same and you will be helping them as well as yourself.
- Educate yourself. Knowledge truly is power so instead of reacting to the fear-mongering headlines, search for reliable and original sources of information. Gaining a better understanding of the science can help eradicate irrational fears and understand the real chances we have to overcome the climate crisis. Be sure to choose what your reading carefully. Opt for more solution-based articles as opposed to ones explaining everything going wrong in the world.
- Act. Sometimes taking real action can be the key to overcoming eco-anxiety. Maybe choose one of our 21 steps to reducing your carbon footprint and start now. Alternatively, sign a petition which you agree with or write to your MP.