The media and the growing urgency around climate change can feel extremely overwhelming. It can feel very frightening, frustrating and can leave people feeling powerless. We can also find ourselves grappling with the feeling of guilt about the impact of our behaviours on future generations.
Environmental destruction doesn’t affect everyone equally and some people are more prone to eco-anxiety than others.
In the UK, people living in coastal areas and those whose jobs depend on the environment, such as agriculture, fishing and tourism, are more likely to suffer. People who work in environmental jobs such as ESG or emergency aid workers will also suffer.
It’s completely natural for a person to feel sad, anxious and helpless about things that seem outside of their control and it’s easy to feel disheartened by the never-ending stream of climate change news and pressing net zero deadlines.
There are a growing number of psychologists and therapists who can help you to work through your eco-fears.
What can I do to help manage my eco-anxiety?
It’s easy to feel as though action needs to be taken only at government level. As well as to feel powerless but taking action will help with this. As Jane Goodall says, ‘Don’t think globally, act locally.
You’ll find lots of great guides and tips within ukgoinggreen.com which will allow you to make positive changes, educate you on your own personal carbon footprint and your impact on the planet.
You can also look out for local environmental groups; Friends of the Earth have a list of groups that span the whole of the UK, take a look and find the group closest to you.
Increase your connection with nature
Our relationship with nature, including how much we notice, think about, and appreciate our natural surroundings, is an essential factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress.
Fresh air and exercise have long since been touted as a remedy for many ailments and nature is part of the reason for its positive impact on our wellbeing. Connectedness with nature makes us more appreciative of our ecosystems, animals and biodiversity, and makes us more determined to do our bit to reverse some of the damage that humans have caused.
Knowledge is power
Climate change can often feel like quite an abstract concept but arming yourself with accurate information about the environment can empower you and your community to feel prepared.
Going Green was created with one thing in mind, to empower people, businesses, and organisations with the right information to make informed decisions. Ensuring you are receiving your information from credible sources, is vital.
Knowing when to disengage
We can all be heavily influenced by the information we see each day in the media, politics, advertising, and on social media platforms. Make sure you unplug for periods of the day, to relieve stress levels.
Seeking a professional opinion
If you’re suffering from severe eco-anxiety, and self-management isn’t helping, it may be worth contacting a professional to help you through the process.
The Climate Psychology Alliance offer a multitude of support options including group, one-to-one and online sessions to help you to manage any climate anxiety you may be experiencing.