If you worry about climate change and the impact humans are having on the environment to the point where you may not be able to stop thinking about it, there’s probably a chance you suffer from a level of eco-anxiety.
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Eco-anxiety affects people in different ways; some people can be a little anxious whereas others may feel more anxious. There is no right or wrong. Given the environmental challenges we are facing putting our long-term security at risk, it’s no surprise that eco-anxiety is on the rise and I’m glad people are more open to talking about it.
Even as an environmentalist, I have to keep my eco-anxiety in check – I’m not ashamed to say I find it overwhelming at times too. However, I have found some ways that helps me keep my eco-anxiety in check.
My tips to cope with eco-anxiety
1. Actions matter
It’s easy to sometimes feel powerless, there’s only so much an individual can control. Something I always say is ‘start small, do what you can, build from there‘. Our actions do matter and make a difference, regardless of how big or small. Never forget that!
2. Find like-minded individuals
It’s important to find other people who share the same passion for the environment and who want to do better. One thing I realised quite early on is that you can learn so much from each other and sharing this knowledge can only be a good thing. Plus, you will be part of a team that may want to set up litter-picks or a local eco group.
3. Happy Eco News
This is something that I started early on. There is so much negative news about climate change so any positive news is largely ignored. There are good things happening in the world when it comes to the environment which is why I send out a fortnightly newsletter filled with happy eco news. I also sent it on Mondays – start the week on a good note! If you would like to receive happy eco news – sign up here and grab a freebie download too.
4. Don’t argue with deniers
This took me a while to get to grips with but I’m much better at it than I was previously. You will always come across deniers. It’s inevitable. But I’m not referring to people who are aware of climate change and would prefer not to talk about it (out of sight, out of mind), I’m referring to people who will argue with you about how climate change is a hoax and want to argue their ‘reasons’ as to why it’s a hoax or not as bad as it’s being reported. DO NOT ENGAGE. After having a number of heated discussions with climate change deniers, I found that I was left frustrated and exhausted from the encounter and the only person affected from this is me. Nothing you can say will make a difference, so don’t bother.
For the little ones
If you have little ones, I’ve come across this gratitude journal for children. It’s so important for children to notice the good about their day rather than just the bad. My little one has a gratitude journal and now I don’t have to even remind her to fill it in, she enjoys doing it on her own.
Above all, it’s about protecting your mental health and only you can do that. It’s OK to protect your mental health.
These are some ideas that work for me but may not work for everyone. Here are my terms & conditions for further reading