Given the magnitude of the threats, it is understandable to feel anxious about the ecological crises that we face.
Eco-anxiety can be described as: sometimes describedIt can be a problem with your mental health. It’s not. Eco-anxiety refers to a rational psychological response to the multiple ecological crises we are now facing.
You are not the only one feeling this way. Eco-anxiety has been shown to be a common condition. About two-thirds, or 63 percent, of Australian participants are concerned about their environment. our recent surveys reported feeling eco-anxiety at least “some of the time”.
The response can be triggered by media storiesBoth human efforts to address climate and environmental crises are included. This includes the avalanche of media from the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26), currently underway in Glasgow.
Eco-anxiety will not go away in this age of ecological reckoning. That means we must learn how to cope with it – and perhaps even harness it to drive us to find solutions
Don’t dwell on the problems that we contribute
Our study identified four key features of eco anxiety:
- Affective symptomsFeelings of worry and anxiety are common.
- RuminationPersistent thoughts that can keep you awake at night.
- Behavioral symptomsThese include difficulty sleeping, working or studying, as well as social problems.
- AnxietyLearn more about your personal impact on the world.
Our surveys of 334 Australians, 735 New Zealanders and 735 New Zealanders revealed similar levels of eco-anxiety. People affected in the same way in both countries. This supports emerging researchAccording to a study, more than half of the young people surveyed in ten countries felt anxious about climate change. Anxiety about the state and future of the planet is likely universal.
We asked Australians about their feelings. They said that eco-anxiety affected their moods, daily routines, and relationships. It affected their ability focus, work, and study. Some people felt restless, anxious, and agitated due to eco-anxiety. New Zealanders reported similar impacts.
The rise of ‘eco-anxiety’: climate change affects our mental health, too
Our study revealed that people are also concerned about how they can contribute to the planet’s decline. Some participants noted the state of the planet made them “extremely anxious”, so much so they “find it hard to think about anything else”.
Another study shows that many people are concerned about how their actions affect the environment. consumerism or flying. Some young adults have decided to have fewer children than others, or none at all, because they worry that their children will be contributing to the climate crisis. inherit a degraded world.
These fears were also evident in our study. One parent participant noted:
My biggest worry is that climate change will affect my child in their lifetime, and I get very upset that I won’t be able to protect him from the effects of it.
What is eco-anxiety and generalised anxiety different?
Although eco-anxiety shares many similarities with generalised anxiety or stress, we found important differences such as the emphasis on environmental issues and our contribution.
We also found people experience eco-anxiety independent of depression, anxiety and stress, suggesting it’s a unique experience.
Although it is possible for someone with normal mental health to experience eco-anxiety, it is not common for people who are otherwise healthy. existing mental health issues.
We need to understand what eco-anxiety is for individual (and global) well-being. provide supportPeople with anxiety levels varying from mild to severe.
Four ways to manage your eco-anxiety
Eco-anxiety is a problem that will not go away due to the many environmental issues the world faces. These feelings can become overwhelming or debilitating and should be avoided. behavioural, cognitive and emotional strategiesPeople can use this to their advantage.
Here are four methods:
ValidationAn important part of managing anxiety is to validate itIt makes sense to be anxious and distressed if you acknowledge it.
Time outAnother option is to take mental breaks. You can turn off your 24/7 news feed and give yourself some time to restore your sense of balance.
Seek hopeCultivating a realistic sense of hopeThe future can help reduce anxiety arising from ecological threats. That means appreciating the complexity of the problem, while also searching for alternative visions of the future and trusting that we, as a collective, will eventually resolve the crisis before it’s too late
Get involvedMany people feel overwhelmed by the threat of a changing climate. This can be self-reinforcing. You can take action to combat this by changing your behavior or participating in campaigns.
Greta Thunberg, climate campaigner has said, “no one is too small to make a difference”.
Climate change has been described to be the “The End of the World.” greatest collective action problemWe have ever seen. This means that all individuals, businesses, and governments must work together to bring about the necessary changes. As we did in fighting the COVID pandemic, we all need to work together now.
Eco-anxiety has become more common. Not all environmental crises have to be troubling. cost of your healthWellbeing.
After all, psychological, emotional and behavioural burnout is not helpful for you – or the planet.