When people witness devastating disasters Impact of climate change, deforestation and loss biodiversitythis is a natural feeling Overwhelmed and frustrated. I happen to live in Phoenix, Arizona, a “hot apocalypse” City and reduced water supplyso I’m also involved.

But amid the pessimistic forecasts, there is hope.As a therapist and professor of clinical social work, I see firsthand how paralysis eco-anxiety Yes, and I’m committed to finding solutions. Here are some evidence-based tips for solving climate problems.

What is eco-anxiety?

eco-anxiety is a broad term that covers fears about environmental issues, such as pollution and the disposal of toxic waste, as well as climate-specific fears, e.g. Increased incidence of extreme weather events and Sea-level rise.

Common symptoms Eco-anxiety includes concerns about future generations, Trouble sleeping or concentrating, frustration and helplessness.These feelings can range from mild, fleeting worry to deep despairpanic attacks and compulsive behavior.

Does it sound like you or someone you know? There are many tools available to help people cope with these feelings, summarized by the acronym UPSTREAM.

understanding and self-compassion

Be kind to yourself and know it You’re not the only one feeling this way.

Caring about the world you live in doesn’t make you a “crazy” alarmist. Actually, The number keeps increasing People all over the world feel the same way Two-thirds of Americans report Recent polls are at least somewhat concerned about climate change.

When people feel nervous, it makes sense basic needs Such as threats to safety and shelter.Give yourself grace because beat yourself Because these very valid feelings will only make you feel worse.

Participate in the solution

It’s hard to feel empowered when environmental harm is severe. damage your mental healthBut the escalating global crisis still requires urgent attention. Instead of burying your head in the sand, use your mental discomfort as a catalyst for action.

personal effort Reduce your carbon footprint matter. Join a larger movement likely to have a significant impact, and Potential to buffer anxiety, research shows. Volunteer to use your unique passion, talents and skills to advocate for systemic change that benefits the planet and people.

When you feel anxious, use that energy as fuel to fight.Harnessing eco-anxiety in this way can Reduce your sense of powerlessness.

Talking to oneself

The impacts of the climate crisis are severe enough—don’t let your brain make you feel worse.

When it comes to climate change, a realistic mindset leaves us in the psychological Goldilocks zone of “just enough.”No Numb your traumabut also Don’t overly catastrophize.

As a therapist, I often help clients identify and reframe unhelpful thinking patterns.For example, while it is true that there are many environmental issues that need to be addressed, also positive News, so don’t underestimate it. Recognize and celebrate wins, big and small.

Trauma: Deal with it so you can heal

The climate crisis is conceptualized as collective traumaand many people are struggling ecological grief Climate impacts that are already occurring. Processing past trauma from events such as weather disasters is a critical step in building your ability to cope with new experiences.

Even if some people Haven’t experienced it yet Significant climate impacts may occur directly Signs of Pre-Traumatic Stress, a clinical term for distress experienced in anticipation of a high-stress situation. A licensed mental health professional can help you deal with these emotions.

reduce isolation

It is well known that having a strong social support network is key elements of happiness. Surrounding yourself with compassionate, like-minded friends is also key to continually striving to do your part to make a change.

Consider joining or starting climate cafe or similar panels discussing climate issues.visit a Ten Steps to Climate Grief Sessions. Join a local environmental group. Or, when you need a listening ear, just call a friend.

ecotherapy

Get outside and enjoy nature.

Take a quiet walk in the woods and observe the nature around you – this is a Japanese way of relaxing known as forest bathing.Spend time gardening. outdoor exercise Or otherwise spend time outdoors in a place that relaxes and rejuvenates you.

self-care behaviors

Self-care is crucial when it comes to managing the emotional toll of eco-anxiety.

engage in self-care practicesThings like getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and having fun can help us maintain a sense of balance in the face of overwhelming environmental problems.

Remember what they teach you on airplanes – you should always put on your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers.Likewise, when we come from a healthy place, we Be better equipped to cope with the stress of eco-anxiety and make a difference in this field.

Mindfulness

Since eco-sadness is focused on the past and eco-anxiety is future-oriented, reconnecting to the present is an effective way to combat both.

through training Mindfulness – Non-judgmental awareness of the present moment – ​​People can become more attuned to their thoughts, feelings and body sensations in response to eco-anxiety triggers. This increased self-awareness can help people acknowledge worries without being consumed by them.

Mindfulness exercises, e.g. meditation and Take a deep breathprovide a Calming and grounding effect, help relieve pressure and relieve feelings of helplessness.In addition, mindfulness can cultivate A deeper connection with nature and an appreciation of the present, which can counteract feelings of hopelessness associated with uncertainty about future circumstances.

These strategies can build resilience in the face of ecological anxiety and remind everyone that they have the power to shape a more sustainable and hopeful future.

Karen MagruderAssistant Professor of Social Work Practice, University of Texas at Arlington

This article is reproduced from dialogue Licensed under Creative Commons.read Source article.

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