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Five ways to tackle eco-anxiety

Eco anxiety is a real issue. The American Psychological Association describes it as ‘a chronic fear of environmental doom’. With all that’s going on right now, you might be feeling more anxious than normal. Read on to discover how to tackle eco-anxiety.

What is eco-anxiety you might be wondering? Well, it’s caused by a combination of things: 

  • A dread of climate change 
  • A persistent feeling of helplessness, sadness, anger, panic or loss 
  • A fear of the consequences for Earth and humanity

Yes, climate change is overwhelming. But there are actions you can take to manage your mental wellbeing.

Recognise it’s a rational feeling

Don’t downplay how you’re feeling because eco-anxiety is a rational response to reality. You are not overreacting. Most of us know this is a serious predicament. Eco-anxiety is a form of empathy and compassion. These are important for a healthy, functioning society, and they often spur us into action.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Having people to talk to can really help. Getting support from people who share your views is good for your mental wellbeing. It can increase positivity and resilience, so consider joining a group or organisation. After all, we’re all in this together. 

Take action

There are so many ways to do this. Shop differently. Make more ethical and sustainable purchases. Look at your own personal habits. Could you cycle instead of driving? Could you reduce your plastic use in any way?

Speak to friends or family about what you know, or engage your local political representative. Use your social media platforms to educate people. Volunteer with an organisation you believe in. And attend protests because they really can make a difference. 

Connect with nature regularly

Being in nature can lower your stress levels and reduce stress-related illnesses. But not everyone has easy access to ‘green spaces’. If you don’t, check out Green Space Index, a list of the UK’s publicly accessible parks and green spaces.

Take care of yourself

Knowing when to disengage and take a rest is crucial. It is as important as knowing when to engage and take action. Sometimes the best way to tackle eco-anxiety is by doing things that make you feel positive and safe. But if these feelings of anxiety are overwhelming, seek help.

We all want to make positive changes. But it’s not just down to you to save the planet. It’s down to all of us. And for that, it’s crucial to be fighting fit. It’s a little like putting on your oxygen mask when you’re on a plane. Make sure you take care of yourself first. That way you can be your most useful.