How To Cope With Eco Anxiety
What is eco anxiety and how can we, as individuals, begin to address it?
The effects of climate change are evident every time we look at the news. Rising temperatures are contributing to ever more frequent disasters, such as wildfires and floods, that are having dire effects on our ecosystems.
Alongside the news of ecological disasters are calls-to-action for us to recycle more, buy less, reduce waste, manage our energy consumption and so on – knowing where to start can be overwhelming!
What is eco-anxiety?
When I think about the status of our environment I sometimes feel a sense of helplessness, both for myself and for future generations, as well as frustration that not enough is being done. And I’m not alone.
Eco-anxiety, defined by the American Psychological Association as “a chronic fear of environmental doom", is something that more and more of us are experiencing.
However, eco anxiety differs from other forms of anxiety in that it is grounded in real data about real events. So in this respect, rather than being detrimental, it could be a useful response to prepare ourselves for the inevitable environmental changes.
I've found this explanation particularly useful: “Eco anxiety is not a mental health problem that needs to be fixed or cured, rather it is a healthy response to the situation we are facing. Anxiety, whilst uncomfortable, is at least an awareness of the reality of the situation that we face.”
So how do we utilise these sometimes debilitating feelings and turn them into something more constructive?
What actions can you take to cope with eco-anxiety?
As a first step, I find it useful to acknowledge my feelings by talking to friends and family. There are also plenty of online groups that provide advice and share tips on living a more sustainable lifestyle. You can find all different types of groups on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
We are always open to answering any questions you might have on eco-friendly products or anything within our plastic-free shop. You can contact us directly through our website or learn from our social media community.
It's not just for plastic-free living. There are groups for Veganuary and other eco-friendly diets. Even if you’re not fully vegan, you will find loads of tasty recipes to help you shift towards eating less meat, as well as more general information on sustainable living.
There are also many active community groups helping to promote cleaner, greener towns and cities whose activities range from regular litter picks to organising awareness-building events.
Here are some other suggestions on coping with eco-anxiety if you would like to learn some more tips.
Whilst the fight against climate change may seem daunting, it is important to remember that small steps really do make a difference. And taking those small steps, knowing that you’re doing what you can, will help to manage those feelings of eco anxiety.
If you would like to ask any more about our experiences or are looking for any advice, please get in touch with us. We're always happy to talk.
Have you suffered from eco anxiety? Let us know in the comments.