If you’ve ever found yourself panicking over plastic bags, in despair about your street on garbage day, or freaking out on your partner about how they disposed of a windshield wiper fluid container, you might be experiencing eco-anxiety.
Also, hi! I’m Jade and I’ve freaked out on my partner about how he disposed of a windshield wiper fluid container.
Eco-anxiety is anxiety from the concern or worry about ecological disasters. With the current events around the world and the constant stress-inducing headlines, it makes sense that we’re a little tense and getting intense about the impact we have on the environment. The climate crisis is terrifying and action is both necessary and needed. We all have a part to play, but you don’t need to carry it all on your shoulders.
There’s only so much one person can do. If anxiety is getting the best of you, I invite you to take a break, hug a tree, and try these steps to help ease eco-anxiety.
Take deep breaths. It’s important to give yourself space to sit with your feelings and then bring your focus to the present moment. Pull into your breath. Take some time to recentre. You can do this anytime, anywhere, and as often as you need. It might be helpful to have a personal mantra to focus on.
Keep doing. You’ve most likely made a lot of personal changes in your life to help Mama Earth. Remember that every action—big or small—is worth it. Even if you’re not seeing results around you, keep on going. Your efforts have an effect.
Focus on good news. It’s good to keep yourself informed with what’s happening in the world, but limit your time spent reading stress-inducing articles and focus on good news. When we put our energy toward the good that’s happening in the world, it will have a positive effect on relieving anxiety and also inspire new ways to keep loving our earth.
Surround yourself with people who are working toward a better future. Being with positive people who are working toward a similar goal will help relieve the feeling of being alone. You don’t have to join an activist group if that’s not your thing. It can be as simple as initiating conversation with someone who shares similar views or filling your Instagram feed with eco-positive accounts.
Dream of the future you want to see. Put your mental energy on a positive future. Talk about surviving and thriving. Dream, baby! The future has yet to come. Let’s dream up one that’s worth fighting for and take the steps now to create it.
There is no shame in seeking professional help to manage eco-anxiety. Everyone can benefit from a good therapist. If your anxiety is affecting your ability to sleep or function on a daily basis, it’s worth talking to a professional.
There are over 101 ways we can work together to create a better future for our beautiful planet. We don’t need to do it perfectly—we just need to start and keep spreading love and peace.Written By Jade Paxton for FRANC