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Suffering from eco-anxiety? Here’s what you can do about it

Suffering from eco-anxiety? Here’s what you can do about it

If headlines around the fires are causing you to feel eco anxiety here's how to cope with those feelings.

Suffering from eco-anxiety? Here’s what you can do about it

In the midst of the worst bushfires Australia has seen for decades, which have left death and devastation in their wake, and at a time when the effects of climate change are manifesting via unprecedented weather conditions all over the world, it’s little wonder that many of us are feeling a looming sense of angst as we face an entirely uncertain future.

And with a viral climate change paper having allegedly caused such widespread panic that people have gone into therapy, and 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg urging the public to panic (she said, of climate change ‘Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope; I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic.’) there’s no surprise that new research has reported that one in three of us are enduring acute anxiety around climate change and global warming.

While it’s vital that we do make our voices heard, lobby politicians, attend protests and take actionable steps to do what we can to save the planet, it is equally crucial to avoid using alarming language that we so often see in headlines when discussing climate change to avoid further negative effects on both our mental health and wellbeing.

So if you’re feeling anxious about the environment and what the future holds for the planet, here are five tips and techniques for managing your eco-anxiety that will lift the burden of helplessness that so many are feeling right now.

Do what you can

We all know there are a wealth of things we could be doing to help save the planet – and, put simply, the best thing each of us can do is whatever we are able to. Whether that looks like going vegan, flying less frequently, walking rather than driving or shopping sustainably, take the steps and make the lifestyle choices within your power, and know that you’re doing your bit to help preserve the planet.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Spending time with people who share the same views and morals is another way to aleviate any eco-anxiety you might have. Having a safe space to express your views, to share and to vent will offer you a much-needed support network during what many find an uncertain time, and will give you the opportunity to rally together and incentivise each to help make a change for the better good of the planet.

Turn anxiety into action

While it’s natural to feel powerless in times like these, it’s also important to remember that our actions carry consequence. And so, although it may be tempting to look the other way, addressing and accepting the situation in which we find ourselves, and turning anxious energy into posotive change will help us feel less helpless and more in control.

Be mindful in your spending

While choosing to change how you shop – whether to a more sustainable way of spending or opting to buy second hand as often as you can – isn’t going to solve climate change on its own, thinking twice about where and how you spend your coin is certainly a great place to start.

Find comfort in discomfort

The future will always be uncertainty, that’s part and parcel of life, with or without the impending threat of climate change. Finding comfort in discomfort, and leveraging the power of uncertainty to sit safe in the knowledge that no-one knows what the future holds is an effective way to cope with and ease eco-anxiety.

Here’s how you can help Australia’s harrowing bushfire crisis.

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