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How to deal with eco-anxiety

How to deal with eco-anxiety

Tips from climate and mental health activists

Simply put, eco-anxiety is the persistent fear about our planet’s future. According to a 2018 national survey, almost 70% of people in the United States are worried about climate change, and around 51% feel “helpless.” And that number is on the rise. “People, now more than ever, are understandably experiencing all time highs of existential anxiety,” says Alyssa Petersel, Therapist and Founder of MyWellbeing

Given current events, it is also important to note that existential crises are not only eco-related. Summer Dean, a climate communicator, writer and activist, points out that, “the eco-anxiety we face here in the United States and in the Global North pales in comparison to the anxiety that indigenous communities and communities of color have faced due to colonialism, climate change, and white supremacist violence.”

So to sum this up, we are extremely worried, very stressed and feeling hopeless. So what can we do about our eco-grief?

Tips for managing eco-anxiety 

  1. Acceptance. We don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s ok. It’s important to acknowledge that you may be suffering with some level of eco-anxiety. Alyssa Petersel reminds us that if you are finding it hard to accept your anxiety there are, “therapists and coaches who specialize in eco anxiety and multitudes of others are able to apply their training rooted in better understanding, unpacking, and alleviating anxiety.”
  2. Look inward.  I think of my home and my life as it’s own little ecosystem, and whatever I choose to allow into my ecosystem has to serve an important purpose” says Summer Dean. She goes on to explain that she likes to ensure that she needs any product that she plans on purchasing and always considers how she will dispose of it when she is finished. “I think caring about our larger planet starts with ourselves.”
  3. Join a like-minded community. Connect with more people that understand what you are going through. Join a group that is dedicated to sharing ideas and solutions. ettitude ambassadors like Leah Thomas from Intersectional Environmentalist and Kathryn Kellog from Going Zero Waste offer information on where to get started and how to find your community. “While one person cannot solve environmental crises on their own, by convening with others, we have control to make a meaningful impact,” says Petersel.
  4. Balance intake of climate news. Eco-anxiety can of course hit at any time, but is often triggered by sensationalized headlines. Instead, search for climate projects and policy changes. Dean reminds us that, “Your special talents and passions are so needed in the climate movement, and we really need more people involved in policy advocacy and organizing if we want to see the change we talk about wanting so much.”
  5. Funnel your passion into action. Petersel urges us to not get overwhelmed. “With regard to the environment, the best way to regain control [over anxiety] is to learn more and to act toward things that you do have control over.” Here are some examples: 
    • Support brands with sustainable practices. Look for 1% for the Planet (FTP) logo when you shop. 
    • Get involved with your local government.
    • Organize a community clean up or host a clothing swap party.
    • Sign petitions or write emails to politicians or companies.
    • Check out volunteer opportunities with Sunrise Movement, Our Climate, and

Our future

See Also

We won’t fix global warming or climate change in 5 easy steps. But allowing our mental health to be affected won’t help either. If you find yourself feeling eco-anxious take a step back and maybe get out in nature. Start composting, host a Clubhouse talk or just start asking yourself, “is what I am about to buy hurting the planet.” 

If you want more info on how the team at ettitude is striving to do more please check out our Impact Report or even our recent partnership announcement with charity:water. Together we really can make a difference.

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