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Making Sense of Eco Anxiety

Aye, it’s real. Not just a new branch of moaning invented by the ‘snowflake generation’....that's what the big polluters would conveniently like you to believe. No, eco anxiety is a mental state that is growing in huge numbers as we progress further into collective Climate Change awareness, confirmed by many in the professional psychology community including psycho-therapist Caroline Hickman, who's part of the ‘Friends of the Earth’ network.

‘Ignorance is bliss’ rings true here, as the more you become aware of the environmentally damaging actions of humans in the modern age, the more upsetting it is to notice it happening all around you everyday. Like with any form of anxiety, eco anxiety is rooted in feelings of isolation, absence of meaning and loss of control, which are clear when we digest the following…

…realising how damaging behaviour is engrained into ‘normal’ lifestyles…

…witnessing a general lack of urgency from others…

… which becomes intensified when you bring up the conversation and receive negative pushback…

… or feel completely powerless as an individual when thinking about the immense and widespread eco-destruction caused by massive business corporations…

…with whom communication seems impossible and getting the message through to governments seems futile when they continue to invest in fossil fuels…

…learning about corporate lobbyists who pay them big bucks to continue their destructive work for even fatter profits… the list goes on and on

If you feel that you are suffering from eco anxiety, be reassured that there is nothing wrong with you! As Caroline Hickman says:

“ 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. And the good news (if I can call it that), is that once aware you can then at least do something about it. Or start to face the difficult, uncomfortable truths of what the future looks like.”

Experiencing eco anxiety is an indication of your empathy, which is one of the most powerful emotions needed to tackle the climate crisis; empathy for yourself and loved ones, for wildlife, for the Earth’s well-being and also for folk around the world who are already facing the extreme physical consequences of our actions - especially in the Global South.

So in the wake of the worry, feel proud that you care! And know that you're absolutely not alone. SO many of us out here feel it too and there are things we can do to give ourselves a break – remember keeping positive and resilient in these hard times can only be achieved by looking after yourself and giving yourself a break too! So here are 3 wee tips we have for this:

  • Talking about it – go ahead and tweet/dm us if you need to
  • Cleansing our social feeds – rid your online environment of accounts that promote anti-eco messaging/practices. Fill it up instead with helpful accounts that provide tangible ways to take action. We regularly post such accounts through our weekly #followthem
  • Spend time in nature with no digital devices – take a walk to the beach/forest or wherever is close to you. It is amazing what a moment to exhale can do, as well as observing the beauty of nature

Love Clare and the team

x

 

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