Eco Anxiety Is On The Rise, Here’s How To Turn It Into Action

eco anxiety
We are witnessing so many tragedies and unfortunate events happening around the world. With eco anxiety on the rise, find out how to turn it into action. 
The interplay of environmental degradation, geopolitics as well as social crisis has had alarming repercussions. Over the past decade alone, millions of people have been displaced by war, natural disasters, and drought. The world is shifting rapidly as a result of climate change.
 
Climate change is one of the most destabilising forces in modern human history. Everyday we are constantly reminded how much we will struggle to keep the overall temperature level down. As more and more scientists, environmentalists tell us that we are literally are going to be extinct unless we do something radical within the next 10 years, obviously we start to lose hope. And this is where the anxiety part comes in. 

Eco Anxiety

According to psychologist Honey Lancaster-James, eco-anxiety is “the state of heightened anxiety some people experience relating to climate change”. Simply put, eco-anxiety is fear for the future of our planet + manifests itself in feelings of anger, fear, powerlessness or exhaustion. 
 
In 2017 the American Psychological Association (APA), defined eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of Environmental doom”.  The APA has actually declared eco-anxiety as an area that psychologists have to attend more and more to because there has been evidences on how climate change is negatively impacting people’s mental health in a very global way.
 
American Psychological Association (APA), together with Climate for Health and EcoAmerica published a report in 2017 called : Mental Health and Our Changing Climate : Impacts, Implications and Guidance”. The report concludes that following illness can be traced back to climate change : 
  • Trauma and shock
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Compounded stress
  • Strains on social relationships
  • Aggression and violence
You can read the full report by clicking here
 
In February 2020, the APA passed a resolution that outlines their commitment to working with other scientific, professional, policy and communities around the world to battle mental health issues associated with the changing climate.  

Turning Eco Anxiety into Action – 5 simple steps 

Here are 5 simple steps you can do to empower yourself and transition away from eco-anxiety by: 

1. Acknowledge whatever feeling you are having 

Whenever you feel angry or resentful at something or someone as they are not care enough about our planet, it is best to acknowledge your feeling. Often naming and  accepting takes the edge away.

2. Try to apply empathy and focus on changing your perception  

Exercise an empathy, trying to understand where the stance of person comes from. In most cases, we will be able to find something that explains other people viewpoint – and then we move towards tolerance and compassion. It is important to remember that no one is the same. We all have different living circumstances and that means that our environmental actions might be different. 
 
For example, we might get shocked on how much single-use plastic is used in hospitals. Everything is disposable and wrapped in further plastic. The reason for this action is hygiene and health. So the best is to accept that this is part of our life and it may take longer to make it sustainable. but it doesn’t mean we cannot make other areas of our lives more sustainable. 

3. Manage our mindset on daily basis    

Whenever you feel eco-fatigue, take a little break. It is important to be realistic and accept that in this day and age, it is hard to be environmentally-friendly in every aspect of life.
 
Here’s simple bingo with  little twist to help managing our expectation and transition away from eco-anxiety : 
Little change Bingo (image credit : ChangeMakr Asia)
tLittle change Bingo (image credit : ChangeMakr Asia)

4. Believe in the positive and restorative impact you can create 

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Focus more on what you can do to increase our restorative impact. Take a small step to facilitate  and aid in healing the earth’s own reiterative capacity by : restoring health to soil, water cycles, plants and ourselves. We, as humans, can do so much good if we recenter ourselves on the world and on ourselves. We can happily co-exist with nature and be one with it. 

4. Start small, learn to experiment and nudge possibilities – EVERYDAY ! 

Do whatever you can is better than nothing.
 
Take a small step to diminish one’s carbon footprint, both individually and together with others. it is important to be realistic and accept that in this current situation, it may be hard to environmentally-friendly  in every aspect of life. If we all start taking action, even just by one or two eco-friendly adjustments, this attitude can spread and the make it easier to increase the number in no time.  
By the end of the day, our handprint should be larger, bigger, and more impactful than our footprint. This can help us from sinking into fear.
DISCLAIMER :
 
ChangeMakr Asia does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any information published on this website or by brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. 

 

Also Read : 

A lot of products nowadays are showing labels like ‘100% eco-friendly’ but is it really a real deal or just gimmicky campaigns ? Read about  greenwashing here.

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