Climate anxiety and how to handle it 

Climate anxiety and how to handle it 

by Alberte Egholm
forest fire

Climate anxiety is a phenomenon that has arisen in recent times as a reaction to the current climate crisis, the severe challenges we face, and the enormous amount of disturbing news information. With every year passing, climate anxiety affects more and more people.

What is climate anxiety?

climate anxiety

Climate anxiety, sometimes called environmental anxiety, is characterized by distressing, anxiety-provoking thoughts about the climate and climate change, and the future. Climate change is real; therefore, it is normal to experience worry and fear about the consequences. 

While climate anxiety is not characterized as a mental illness, it can tremendously affect mental health and well-being.  

Anxiety about the climate is often accompanied by grief, anger, guilt, and shame, which can affect mood, behavior, and thinking. The youth nowadays face many different existentialism concerns. Additional worries and fears about climate change and planet Earth’s future affect mental health directly. 

Many of the difficult feelings connected to this type of anxiety are linked to young people feeling powerless to change anything and experiencing that the world’s leaders fail to take the necessary action to protect the planet and drive the green transition. These frustrations are legitimate. Yet, if you are experiencing climate anxiety – there is something you can do to help the situation on your own.

Tools to handle climate anxiety: Take action 

Taking action personally and managing what’s in your control can help anxiety. As uncertainty and a loss of control characterize climate anxiety, the best treatment is to take action. 

Make changes in your lifestyle

climate anxiety

Make changes to your lifestyle so it is consistent with your values – and you can vouch for yourself and your way of treating the planet. This may include taking fewer flights, attending demonstrations, changing your eating and consumption habits, and educating yourself. 

Talk about it with others 

climate anxiety

Speaking up and sharing your worries and fears with others is essential. This can be done with trusted friends and family, a therapist, or different support groups. Connecting with others can help us feel less alone with our worries and is highly therapeutic. In addition, this can support motivation and incitement to take more action and drive change.

If you have children – talk to them about whether they are feeling anxious or worried for the planet. Help them decide some steps they can take by themselves and that you as a family can take to handle these concerns. 

Keep active

climate anxiety

Engaging in exercise helps release tension in the body and muscles, which helps lower the body’s anxiety. Exercise also helps to divert you from anxious thoughts. You can try different pace sports, but even a long walk outside will be beneficial to clearing the mind and diverting anxious thoughts. A recommendation is to try forms of yoga, which include meditation and focusing on breathing that can help to let go of worry and fear and reduce stress.

Connect and ground with nature

climate anxiety

Spending time in nature has been shown to help mild and reduce anxiety levels. It is also associated with positive emotions, joy, calmness, and a sense of meaning in life. If you are experiencing climate anxiety, spend some time with and in nature. Show your appreciation of Mother Earth to her and ease your anxiety together with nature. 

The climate worries are sincere, legitimate, and real – but we must remember how the world is moving in a greener direction in many areas. There is also something you can do yourself to create meaning. 

Remember to check out our blog to read more blog posts about climate and traveling.

Do you experience climate anxiety? If you do, share your best tips to deal with them!

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