15 Ways to Cope with Eco-Anxiety
Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, let’s talk about eco-anxiety as more and more people are experiencing it. Eco-anxiety is said to be a chronic fear of environmental doom.
Symptoms of eco-anxiety include feelings of shock, sadness, anger, and helplessness.
Some of the causes and contributing factors of eco-anxiety include experiencing an ecological event, constantly reading or watching information about environmental threats, experiencing concern about your ecological footprint, living or working in an area affected by climate change, or being part of a vulnerable population. Does this sound familiar to you?
In the last decade, there has been a significant research on the impact of ecological disasters on mental health, and more symptoms have been reported in just the past three years. Specific fears include concerns about pollution, deforestation, floods, extinction, lack of access to food, and more and there is no question that we are currently facing climate disasters and will continue to experience those hardships.
Although eco-anxiety isn’t an official mental health diagnosis, it shares symptoms with anxiety and trauma disorders. Don’t you worry because we are sharing some way to help you cope with it.
Here are 15 ways to cope with eco-anxiety:
- Limit your Media Consumption
Doom scrolling and enmeshing yourself about ecological crises can leave you feeling helpless. Limit and disengage form media coverage and other ecological exposure to give yourself a break.
- Stick to a Few Key Topics
Limit your focus to a few ecological topics to keep from being overwhelmed. Educate yourself, increase awareness, and set healthy boundaries and limits.
- Get Involved
Chanel your anger into actions and encourage people to become active in advocacy, engage in civil action and organize groups.
- Explore Realistic Lifestyle Changes
By exploring and engaging in realistic changes, you can help the environment. Examples of this include figuring out your carbon footprint using public or physical transportation (if possible), reducing or lowering use of AC and electric using reusable over plastic, or starting a garden.
- Be Patient with Yourself & Others
Give yourself and others time and patience to make realistic changes. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
- Connect With Nature
By connecting with nature or engaging in something like ecotherapy, you may be able to feel more deeply in touch with the world and, in turn, yourself.
- Get Involved with Your Community
Getting involved can help reduce your area’s impact on the environment. It also increases your sense of connection and your ability to discuss symptoms of eco-anxiety. This might include trash pickup, growing or adding to a neighborhood garden, recycling or food waste reduction.
- Remember, You’re Not Alone
It’s important that you can’t fix everything by yourself, and that interpersonal connections can help feel connected to something bigger.
- Use Humor
Most people commonly use humor to de-stress and cope. Try it!
If you feel overwhelmed, journaling can help you increase gratitude and provide insight into the changes you’ve made over time. It’s also related to having less mental health concerns.
- Maintain Hopeful Thinking
By accepting the reality and acknowledging the difficult stuff, and fostering hope, you can encourage yourself and others to stay true to your mission.
- Practice Self-Care
You can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s important to maintain your health (mental and physical) through self-care.
- Learn & Engage in Resilience Techniques
Resilience teaches people to feel productive, worthy, effective, in control, and flexible. It can bolster the community too.
- Have an Emergency Plan(s)
Prepare an emergency plan for you and your family. This fosters feelings of security and control. Maintain a basic supply of emergency kits, food, and water, first-aid, etc. to provide peace of mind.
- Attend Therapy
When you experience mental health concerns and fear of ecological issues, it can help to reach out to a therapist to help you process, explore your concerns, and better learn to cope with symptoms, and help you feel more in-control.
Eco-anxiety can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with, but there are ways to manage your symptoms. Remember, you are not alone, nor is the situation hopeless. There are options out there for eco-anxiety support that will help you feel more stable and safer. And here at KIRR, this Kommunity got your back!
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