Climate anxiety is a term that has been used more and more in recent years as the effects of climate change become increasingly visible.
For some people, this anxiety manifests as fear for the future and a feeling of powerlessness to do anything about it.
For others, it can lead to physical and emotional health problems.
In this blog post, I will discuss what climate anxiety is, the signs that you are struggling with it, and what you can do to cope.
What is climate anxiety?
Climate anxiety is a term used to describe the feeling of anxiety that people experience in response to the threat of climate change.
For some people, these feelings can be so overwhelming that they lead to avoidance behaviors, such as not wanting to think about or talk about climate change.
If you are feeling increasingly anxious about climate change, you are not alone.
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 58% of Americans say they have experienced at least one symptom of anxiety in the past year.
Of those, 26% say their anxiety has increased in the past year and nearly half attribute this increase to stress originating from worrying news about the environment and climate, such as stories about deforestation or plastic pollution.
There are a number of reasons why climate change can cause anxiety.
For one, it is an uncertain threat.
We do not know exactly how bad the effects of climate change will be or when they will happen, which can make it hard to plan for the future.
In addition, climate change is a global problem that feels out of our control.
It can be difficult to know what we can do to make a difference when the problem seems so big.
The problem is even more pressing for young people, who will have to live with the consequences of climate change for longer than older generations. They are also the ones most likely to struggle with anger and resentment because they feel like they are the ones who will have to pay for the mistakes of previous generations.
Signs that you may be struggling with climate anxiety
If you are struggling with climate anxiety, you may notice some of the following signs:
- Feeling overwhelmed by the news and constantly anxious about the future
- Having trouble sleeping or having nightmares about climate change
- Feeling hopeless and helpless about the situation
- Avoiding any discussion about or thinking about climate change
- Numbing your anxiety with alcohol, drugs, other substances, or escapist behaviours
What can you do to cope?
If you are struggling with climate anxiety, there are things you can do to cope.
Come together with like-minded individuals
First, it is important to understand that you are not alone in feeling this way. There are many people who are struggling with the same thing. Try to connect with likeminded individuals to share your concerns, but more importantly to take collective action.
You can come together to clean up your neighbourhood, or lobby politicians for change.
Working as a team you can help each other cut down on consumption. If you need something, borrow it instead of buying it new. When you have clothes or equipment you no longer need, donate it instead of throwing it away.
If many people change their consumption habits, it can make a big difference.
You can also support organizations that are working to combat climate change. Find one that aligns with your values and consider donating your time
Educate yourself about climate change
This leads us to the next important point – educate yourself about climate change and what you can do to help.
- Find out how you can improve your recycling habits and the types of packaging that are better for the environment.
- Read about different foods and their impact on the environment and consider changing some of your eating habits.
- Look into alternative energy sources for your home and consider car-pooling or using public transportation more often. By reducing your carbon footprint, you will definitely be taking positive steps for the environment.
The more you know about climate change and what you can do to help, the less helpless and hopeless you will feel.
Remember that Rome was not built in a day. You don’t have to make all the changes at once, but every little bit helps. Even small actions, like recycling or conserving energy, can make a difference.
Take care of yourself
It is also important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
Find healthy ways to cope with your anxiety, such as journaling, meditation, or spending time in nature.
Talk to someone who can help, such as a therapist or counsellor. They can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and work through your anxiety.
Final thoughts on climate anxiety
Anxiety is not necessarily always bad – it can also be a force for change, spurring us to take action. Harness the energy created by your concerns about the future of the planet, and turn it into positive action.
Climate change affects us all. You are not alone in this, and together we can make a difference.
For Further Reading:
The following are some posts you might find useful if you struggle with anxiety.
- Relationship Anxiety: What It Is, What Causes It, and How to Overcome It
- How to Overcome Anxiety with Simple Grounding Techniques
- Driving Anxiety: How you can overcome the phobia of driving
- Pet Separation Anxiety: The Human-Animal Bond in Two Studies
- How to Help Your Child Overcome Social Anxiety: What You Need to Know
- 20 Affirmations to Calm Anxiety and Improve Your Life
- Anxiety vs. Depression: How to Tell the Difference and Get Help
- Anxiety and Heart Disease in Men: What you need to know
- Spinner Rings – a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety
- Music To Heal Anxiety – The Best Songs to Listen to When You Are Anxious
- Managing Anxiety and How to Stop It from Ruining Your Life
- How to Manage Anxiety and Stress with a Mindfulness Practice
- What to Say to a Friend with Anxiety Instead of ‘Don’t Stress’
- Inspirational Quotes about Overcoming Anxiety
- Everything You Need to Know About Self-Soothing
- The Danger of Being a Perfectionist: Why You Need to Let Go
- Getting Out of a Rut: Tips for Breaking out of Your Comfort Zone
- Interoception: the hidden sense that shapes wellbeing
- How to Control Anxiety in the Face of War: Tips for Coping
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Everything You Need to Know
- Gardening – A Fun and Healthy Way to Lower Stress, Anxiety and Depression
- How to break the rumination cycle
- 11 Steps to Coping with Climate Anxiety: What You Need to Know
- Acupuncture for Anxiety – How does it work and why does it help?
- Mindfulness Puzzles: How to Reduce Stress and Relax with Adult Puzzles
- 11 Ways to Stop Comfort Eating and Cope Better with Stress
- How to help Employees Deal with Anxiety in the Workplace
- Suffering From Anxiety Attacks? Symptoms and 10 Ways to Calm Down
- Separation Anxiety in Adults – How to Overcome Separation Anxiety as an Adult
- The Answer to the Question “Is There Such a Thing as Good Anxiety?”
- A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Stress Eating: What is it, Signs you’re doing it, and How to Stop
- Things to help with anxiety – How to Reduce Worry and Overthinking
- 10 Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder as Defined By DSM 5
- Anxiety Disorders – do we pass them on to our children?
- How to Overcome Social Anxiety – 6 Effective Strategies
- How to Cope with Climate Anxiety – What You Need to Know
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